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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Salvation Army collect thousands of toys every year to redistribute to children in low socioeconomic groups, which is a wonderful thing. Every kid should get the joy of getting a present on Christmas. I was already a bit wary of the organization because of their extremist anti-gay policies. They are an evangelical organization that will not employ gay people, supports and lobbies against gay protections and rights, and proselytizing to those who they are helping including their anti-gay rhetoric. Even so, I often still gave some change at Christmas time, because it is winter time and people often need extra help during the winter months.

However, the latest story of their far right policies has pushed me over the edge and I do not think I will be supporting them any longer. A volunteer in a warehouse discovered that the organization often trashes, and sometimes gives to other charities, toys from Harry Potter and Twilight as they contradict the organization's christian values.

"But he questioned why the charity would be sifting out Harry Potter and Twilight toys, which involve sorcery and vampire themes, respectively. "I was told to withhold a six-inch Harry Potter figure, but when I picked up a plastic M-16, I was told, 'That's for the 10-year-olds,'" he said. "I was shocked...war-themed toys and toys from TV shows and movies with far more violence than Harry Potter and these were considered appropriate toys?""

This seems a bit ludicrous to me, but it is their policy. The article notes that policy dictates passing these toys on to another charity and not accepting violent weapons. However, that policy was not the same one the volunteer saw in effect at the warehouse he was volunteering at.

As an alternative to Salvation army, I suggest looking for smaller local organizations that organize toy drives. Instead of shopping at the salvation army thrift stores look for a thrift store run by a local charity, I used to shop at one that supported an organization that cared for invalid AIDS patients. And instead of giving them your spare change, make a donation to a local homeless shelter, think about how hard it is to be homeless in the winter and remember to give during the cold winter months.

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