Melina MacInnis December 23, 2018
With all the negative press that the Proud Boys have been getting as of late, when I heard that a local chapter was holding a toy drive for children that were not going to have such a bright Christmas this year I wanted to get the story.
Yes, the Proud Boys is a male fraternity of Western Chauvinists. Does that make them the big bad evil? This female patriot journalist says no. Do I agree with all of their ideals? No, and I don’t have to, that is what is great about this country. At the core of this group they support the constitution and their country, yet they are not a patriot group. They are a group of men for men in a day an age when being a man or being masculine is considered toxic.
There has been some bad press surrounding the group and their founder Gavin McInnes, what is factual and not, the left will keep you guessing. There are good and bad apples in every group out there. I am here to report on what this chapter and many others have accomplished to make Christmas better for many boys and girls in the southern region of the Pacific Northwest and around the country.
Vitto, the Proud Boy I spoke to is a husband and father. One day he was watching his 3 year old play with a toy, happy as could be and he told me that it actually tore his heart out to think that other little kids out there would not have the joy of a simple toy to play with on Christmas Day or the days after…operation toy drive began.
The group started to put out calls to different shelters and organizations to see who needed the assistance and something Vitto told me shocked me. Many did not want their assistance because of who they were, because of the stain that the press and a few incidents that had erupted from other members of the organization had left on the group as a whole. They finally found a veterans organization that would accept their help but would not let the members give the presents to the children themselves. Many were saddened by this as they wanted to see the smiles on the children faces and yes some wanted to redeem the Proud Boy name; here is where I was impressed by what Vitto told me “Our chapter president said that it was not a good idea to give the presents to the kids in person in our “uniforms” anyway because he did not want to put them in danger from some people that may want to hurt us for being Proud Boys just for some good press” I told Vitto that impressed me, he continued to tell me that his chapter president always stressed on making sure that everyone was doing an activity or event for the right reasons.
Vitto and his small team made sure that the organization they were helping was for real and were assured that vetting had occurred and they were in fact helping veterans. They set up a GoFund me account and started spreading the word.
By the time I had spoken with Vitto last week, the toy drive was coming to a close and they had raised almost $500.00 in the GoFund me account and the same amount in private donations. Proud Boys had received physical toy donations and those that had gotten gifts cards as bonuses from work used them to buy toys for the drive.
The next question I asked Vitto was one that some people get very testy about, but he was very open and honestly seemed glad that I did. I asked him if he was keeping all the receipts for everything and tracking all funds in case questions came from donators as to if their funds actually went to the drive. He said that there was some debate on if that needed to be done, and because he is someone that would probably question that himself, he decided to do it, full transparency. That to me says volumes.
Vitto offered for me to go along when they presented what they had to the organization, I was not able to accept so he agreed to send pictures. I hope you enjoy seeing a side of The Proud Boys that you don’t get to see from the main stream media and that maybe you will start to ask your own questions about them.
I asked Vitto if he would like to talk to me again about his experience with The Proud Boys and why he joined, maybe talk with his chapter president and some other members. He sounded open to it, after all there are always 3 sides to every story. The Left, The Right and TRUTH. This story has one side…hope.
Late Addition: I just got off the phone with Vitto, after all was said and done they had $35.00 and a gift card left over from the toy drive. They were made aware of a family that just got an apartment after living in their car. Though they are in a much better situation, the apartment consisted of a microwave, tree and stockings pinned to the wall. The children had very basic Christmas lists of things like toothbrushes and soap. So everyone pooled together and put their own funds in as well along with the left overs from the toy drive and bought toys for the kids and gift cards for the parents to get the shoes, toiletries and what ever else that they may be able to get for the other wise bare apartment. What a great way to end an already great event. The Proud Boys truly can be proud of what they have done for some people and children that may not have had a very Merry Christmas if it had not been for the kindness in their hearts.