Alexandria, VA: Each December, as millions of frantic shoppers descend upon retail outlets around the world, so too descend the bell-ringing Salvation Army volunteers and their shiny red buckets. You can usually find them outside every shopping mall and Wal-Mart in America, relentlessly ringing their bells and guilting you into donating a dollar or two out of your widescreen TV fund.
For most people, these Salvation Army volunteers and their big toy drives are a part of the holiday tradition, along with tacky Christmas lights, spiked eggnog, and awkward office parties. And many people have kindly taken the time and money to donate a gift or two to the charitable organization so it could then distribute the wrapped goodies to needy children around the world.
But few people are probably aware that the Salvation Army has strict guidelines when it comes to what types of toys it will give to needy children. For instance, as the Salvation Army sifted through its mountains of toys this year, it threw out anything related to Harry Potter and Twilight.
“Vampires and wizards are incompatible with our charity’s Christian beliefs,” said Mary Moses Christiansen, a spokesperson for the Salvation Army. “Such beings are creations of the devil and we don’t want the younger generations exposed to such evil.”
Other toys, however, did make the cut. Toy guns, for instance, were widely distributed to the less-than-fortunate.
“Guns are OK,” said Christiansen, “They let our youngsters practice for the coming Apocalypse, for when they’ll have to take up arms against demons, Muslims, abortionists, liberals, feminists and homosexuals.”
While some children were upset with the Salvation Army’s policies (10-year-old Lizzy Armstrong of Calgary cried when the organization denied her the glitter-covered Edward doll she so badly wanted), others were quite pleased with their toys.
“What do I need a d*** Harry Potter book for?” said 10-year-old Jamie Williams of Chicago. “This is a real toy,” he said while proudly displaying a plastic toy handgun and flashing gang signs.
Lil Ernestine Jones, 11, of Richmond agrees. “Twilight is a pieces of s***,” she said, spitting “tobacky” juice into an empty Pepsi bottle and holding her plastic shotgun, courtesy of the Salvation Army. “I’d take that there vampire and shove a shotgun up his a**!”
Other toys that the Salvation Army threw out included anything depicting President Obama and items that encouraged little girls to be “too masculine” or encouraged boys to be “too feminine.” A Palin Bobblehead, however, did make the cut.