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Los Angeles Schools Got A $600,000 Donation Of Beanie Babies And We Want To Know Where They’re Going

A massive pile of small yellow Minions toys with Ty Beanie Babies tags attached.
Los Angeles Unified now has 70 pallets of Minions-themed Beanie Babies.
(Courtesy of Jennifer Marquez/Shelter Partnerships)
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The Los Angeles Unified School District accepted a very large donation this month of Ty Beanie Baby toys — 74,640, to be exact.

They are not your classics. They are all: Minions, from the Despicable Me franchise.

Local nonprofit Shelter Partnership made the donation to the district back in December.

How did the nonprofit get a hold of so many plushy Minions? Jennifer Marquez, senior director of product donations for Shelter Partnership, said they received a call from a donor in Chicago back in 2020 asking if they’d accept the toys.

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And that’s how 11 semi-trucks, or 600 pallets, full of Minions-themed Ty Beanie Babies made their way from Chicago to Los Angeles. Since the Minions arrived at Shelter Partnership’s warehouse they’ve been distributed to other nonprofits and schools within Los Angeles. The remaining inventory of Beanie Babies — 70 pallets — have now been accepted by LAUSD.

Last year, Shelter Partnership distributed $19.8 million worth of products to 293 agencies in L.A. County. Shelter Partnership works with different manufacturers, movie studios, and other nonprofits that have new items they’d like to donate, often surplus items.

“A company might have something that is out of season or maybe something’s going to expire in six months or they just have too much in stock and they turn to Shelter Partnership,” Marquez said.

Hot commodities

If you were alive and grooving in the 1990s, you might remember the Ty Beanie Baby collection fad. People collected these items that were thought to grow in value over the years, especially if the ‘TY’ tag wasn’t taken off. Like the Beanie Baby created to commemorate Princess Diana after her death in 1997, some of which now sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

Minions characters are only about a decade or so old, so this collection of Beanie Babies did not come from some collector hoarding mounds of toys. It’s unclear why … so many … Minions Beanie Babies were produced.

What’s going to happen to these Minions?

According to LAUSD’s March 7 meeting report, the donated products are meant to be distributed to students across LAUSD. Neither the district’s press office nor the board member offices we contacted were able to comment further.

Donations are managed by the district’s Accounting and Disbursements Division, which has not yet fulfilled LAist’s request for public records.

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In the absence of those answers, we can wildly speculate how these Beanie Babies might be deployed:

  • They could very well be distributed to students throughout the district, but that has not been independently confirmed by the district, and there are not enough for one (1) Minion per student.
  • Filling in empty seats of board members who miss meetings.
  • The Minions will idle in a lonely dark warehouse waiting for direction.
  • A misguided doll-to-living-being scientific experiment to find quick, cheap labor. (Important note, however: Minions have unionized.)

We'll have more on this story as it becomes available.

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