Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Toys for Tots … with Green Cards


Some children in Nashville this Christmas awoke to a barren Christmas tree because their parents weren’t able to provide Santa with social security numbers.

What does it say about a country when two of its largest holiday gift givers, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots, will decline applicants who are unable to demonstrate proof of citizenship, and income, according to an article in The Tennessean.

The Angel Tree program, based in Nashville, will have distributed Christmas presents to nearly 15,000 children and seniors throughout Tennessee in response to nearly 5,000 applications, and this program that matches gifts to families in need, is not shy about its requirement to produce a social security card.

Maj. Rob Vincent, a spokesperson for the Salvation Army, insists that “it’s not a matter of whether they’re legal or illegal,” but whether parents requesting help with their Christmas gifts can prove they’re members of the community. The Salvation Army, he argues, wants to be sure to address “local need.” But what kind of community would deny an indigent parent’s request for just enough to cover the cost of a baby doll for her three year old daughter solely because the child’s grandmother can’t produce a social security card?

And, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots also has the same policy of requiring official evidence of citizenship, and proof of income eligibility before granting parents request.

There are some in high powered Washington think tanks who are cynical enough to suggest that parents may be “gaming” the system by applying to several charities for toys. They are the same folks who called for welfare reform while simultaneously lining the pockets of AIG. Well, here’a hearty Bah Humbug to those who can justify corporate fraud, yet who get out of shape because maybe, just maybe the child of an undocumented worker might be rewarded with a $10 teddy bear at Christmas. These are the same folks who often hire undocumented workers to mow their lawn, or fix their toilets, yet yell the loudest because a miniscule percentage of the millions in grants to government agencies might inadvertently wind up under somebody’s Christmas tree of last resort.

To any but the most obdurate, intransigent Scrooge, the actions of the Salvation Army and the U.S. Marine Corps in depriving needy children in Nashville, and anywhere else in this nation, of Christmas are egregious especially when considering that other charities, like The United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, award millions in grants every year with no proof of citizenship requirement.

Any charity that would reject the children of immigrants at Christmas isn’t worthy of the name.

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.


JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
Lara Gardner
Why I’m Not Voting
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017