My Beanie Babies have a new home.

During my family's recent move, I lamented in a column that we had no use for dozens of Bean Babies, those stuffed-animal toys that were all the rage two decades ago. Deborah Lewis, Lakeshore Elementary's partnernship coordinator, noticed and sent me an inviting email volunteering to help me continue my "decluttering."

"We have a school store at Lakeshore where we sell gently used and new beanie babies for $2," Lewis wrote. "The kids love them. Any money we make goes back into our school to fund items that are not included in our regular school or PTO budget. Items such as food for our fish in our fish tank and the supplies needed to maintain them, games and movies for our Family Resource Room checkout (works like a library where kids and parents can check out a game or movie for a week then return and check out something else), special projects for classrooms, author visits."

She closed by saying that Lakeshore would love to help me out if I ever decided to get rid of the little toys that were on a shelf in our storage room.

It didn't take long for my wife and me to say yes to Lewis' offer. My son teaches fourth grade in the Fox Valley so I'm well aware how schools always are looking for any financial boost they can get to enhance their programming. The need far exceeds the financial support. I delivered 49 Beanie Babies to Lewis at Lakeshore and she couldn't have been more delightful. She showed me the massive fish tank at the school's entrance and talked about other school-community projects.

I was pleased Lewis was pro-active and let me know about her school's needs. We all should keep our schools in mind when we wonder what we can do to make our communities a better place. I found out just how easy it is.

— Gary Johnson, editor