Anyone doubting the continued popularity of Beanie Babies need only stop by Lincoln Elementary School this week.

Monica Dreiling’s fifth-grade class is conducting a marketing and public service project this month, selling the small plush toys in a “store” in the school’s main hallway before and after school and will donate the proceeds.

On the store’s first day Monday, students, staff and even parents swarmed the table at the end of the day to get their pick of the popular toys.

Dreiling said she had gone to an auction recently where there were thousands of Beanie Babies up for sale. At first, she passed them by, but woke up in the middle of the night with an idea for what her class could do with them. The next day, she went back to the auction and purchased 884 for $65.

“It was a steal,” she said.

The students will donate their profits to the community.

“All the proceeds are going to the food bank. We’re going to buy food and then we’re going to give it to them,” class member Delia Dixon said.

Dreiling said after the store closes Friday, the students will total their sales and make their shopping lists. She talked with them about what it takes to start a business and pricing their product. They will pay back her “startup” investment, then they’ll visit with area food banks to see what’s needed and examine grocery store ads to determine what to buy.

“The kids wanted to wait and see how much money they made and maybe separate it amongst a couple of places,” Dreiling said.

Advertising and keeping track of inventory was part of what the students said they had already learned from the project.

The store will be open in from 7:30 to 7:45 a.m. and 3:05 to 3:30 p.m. through Friday. Small Beanie Babies are 25 cents and large ones are $1.