Banks in Tampa Bay Decline to Participate in Toys for Tots

For many Blaze readers, the United States Marine Corps’ honorable efforts to collect donated toys for less-fortunate children probably needs no introduction.

However, just in case some are not familiar with the famous Toys For Tots program, here is a quick description found on its website:

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted . . .

The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens . . . to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future . . .

Sounds like a wonderful program, right? Well, apparently, some Florida banks didn’t think those goals were lofty enough.

Wells Fargo and TD banks across the Tampa Bay area have rejected the program’s collection boxes.


“The boxes were delivered per usual. We just based it off last year per their need. As soon as the boxes were delivered, we were told unfortunately they needed to be removed or weren’t even placed in the lobby to begin with,” said Terese Kerrigan of Toys for Tots West Pasco to Fox Tamp Bay.

As Fox points out, just one donation box can hold up to $300 worth of toys and can be refilled at least 4 times during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Therefore, just one rejected box equals a loss of $1,200 worth of toys that could have gone to less-fortunate children.

“I’m amazed at their insensitivity,” said said West Pasco Toys for Tots coordinator John Durkin, a Marine Corps colonel in a recent Tampa Bay Online article.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Kathy Harrison told Fox that the bank has a policy prohibiting such activity in its lobbies.

“We do have a nonsolicitation policy that’s been in effect for a couple years,” she said.

Wells Fargo also says that it is helping out communities by giving more than $11 million to donations — which, many would argue, is really nothing compared to the $25 billion communities across the nation gave them in TARP funds. They claim that rejecting the boxes was “a choice made out of respect to their customers.”

Because apparently some customers were offended by the Toys For Tots program?

Between the Tea Party being upset over the TARP bailouts and Occupy Wall St.’s incoherent and sometimes-violent anti-bank stance, some of these banks might want to start thinking about improving their image. And rejecting a Marine Corps-sponsored toy drive for needy children is an awful place to start.