The Salvation Army says it refuses to distribute Harry Potter and Twilight toys collected for needy children because they’re incompatible with the charity’s Christian beliefs.
The policy has alarmed one volunteer who sifts through a southeast warehouse full of unused, donated items and was alarmed when he was told by Salvation Army officials that the two kinds of toys are “disposed of” and not given to other charities.
“I asked if these toys went to another charitable organizations but was told no, that by passing these toys on to another agency for distribution would be supporting these toys,” said the man, who wouldn’t give his name due to his occupation.
The man called himself an admirer of the Salvation Army and was impressed by the massive quantity of toys collected in city malls, schools and police stations through the Toy Mountain campaign.
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?”
The Sally Ann refuses to distribute the Twilight and Harry Potter toys because of their wizardry, vampire and werewolf content, said Capt. Pam Goodyear.
“The Salvation Army is based on Christian principles, so these things are not in line with those,” said Goodyear.
But she said the charity delivers those toys to other agencies that then distribute them.
“They’re distributed in another manner where parents can choose,” she said, though she couldn’t name any of those other agencies.
And she said it has been Sally Ann policy not to distribute war toys like plastic guns, though many of those decisions are made by the local ministry unit operating the warehouse.
Goodyear said the charity should inform donors which toys it chooses not to distribute.
“There are always learning opportunities,” she said.
“But in my 20 years with the Salvation Army, this has never been an issue,” she said.