“A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio and heard a story about a Marine who was handing out Beanie Babies to the children in order to improve the U.S. military image in Afghanistan,” said Donnelly. “And one of the children he had given a Beanie to later told the marine to stay away from the fields nearby because they were full of land mines. She potentially saved his life, and I thought, ‘I’m going on a mission to send Beanie Babies to the troops.’”
Donnelly’s goal is to collect 500 of the iconic dolls, and any type will do. From the classic Beanie Babies to the Halloweenie, Jingle or Hello Kitty Beanies, whatever the shape, color or size, if you’ve got them and are willing to part with them, Donnelly will gladly take them.
“I will happily pick up donations of five or more within 10 miles (of Bethel Island),” said Donnelly. “And they don’t have to be just Beanie Babies. Any small stuffed animals would be fine. I don’t want a bunch of big teddy bears, but if they’re about the same size as the Beanies, I’ll take them. Sure.”
So far, Donnelly has collected more than 200 of the plush pals; 150 of them came from a local resident who donated her entire collection in memory of her recently deceased husband who was an ex-marine.
It’s a sentiment that Donnelly, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, can get behind. “I know how important things from home can be to servicemen,” said Donnelly. “I remember getting letters from my late wife Fanny and homemade cookies and such, so this is something that I know will mean a lot.”
Donnelly’s collection drive will run through January. Those with Beanie Babies to donate can do so by calling Donnelly at 925-684-9316 for pick-up, mail them directly to him at P.O. Box 264 Bethel Island, CA 94511, or drop off them at the Bethel Island Golf Course, 3303 Gateway Road.