(Photo: The Salvation Army in Canada)
Responding to recent media reports about a ban on Twilight and Harry Potter toy donations, The Salvation Army released a statement Thursday saying it has no such policy.
"The Salvation Army has no policy against distributing Harry Potter or similar toys and, in fact, these types of toys are donated and distributed in some areas," the Christian organization said.
The statement comes amid reports that The Salvation Army in Canada has chosen not to distribute to children donated items relating to the Twilight or Harry Potter fantasy series.
Capt. Pam Goodyear, spokeswoman for the Christian group, told The Calgary Herald that parents have asked not to include certain items in the gift bags – filled with toys from CTV News' annual Toy Mountain Christmas campaign.
"Items that have come to my attention include the Twilight series and we also don't give out toy guns," she explained to the local publication.
Twilight is a vampire-themed fantasy romance series, wildly popular among teens and young adults. Over 100 million copies have been sold worldwide and the film adaptations have topped the box office.
Harry Potter, centered on a boy wizard, has also achieved immense success with book and box office sales.
Some Christians have denounced the latest crazes, calling them dangerous.
Articulating The Salvation Army's stance, Goodyear stated, "The Salvation Army doesn't support witchcraft, witchery and black magic," as reported by The Calgary Herald.
While that may be the case, Thursday's statement by the well-known Christian organization pointed out that decisions about what to distribute to children "are made at the local level, often in consultation with parents of recipients and based on years of feedback."
"The Salvation Army is sensitive to what parents feel is appropriate for their children and choices sometimes have to be made. In cases where donations are not usable by The Salvation Army, these toys are generally given to other organizations for their use."
Every Christmas, thousands of new, unwrapped toys are collected through the Toy Mountain campaign and distributed by The Salvation Army. This is the 15th year that the toy drive is running.
According to Captain John Murray of The Salvation Army, requests for assistance this Christmas are up 25 percent across Toronto.
"[I]t’s more important than ever that Torontonians give generously to ensure Christmas morning is special for every child," he said in a statement.
Last year, more than 141,000 toys were distributed to children.