Some people drop a few dollars into The Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles at this time of year. Others stop and write checks. But every year, other donors emerge and discreetly share diamond rings, real silver and rare gold coins — and many choose to do so anonymously.
Consider the donations that have been surfacing around the country during this year’s Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign:
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- A gold coin from an anonymous donor in Bloomington, Ill., who’s been stealthily donating such coins for about 20 years now.
- Five gold South African Krugerrands coins in Frederick, Md. (The coins were gifts from the owner of a local coin exchange, who purchased them back from The Salvation Army for $9,000.)
- A diamond ring wrapped in a dollar bill from an anonymous donor in Spokane, Wash. The ring is valued at $5,000.
- Also in Spokane, a silver coin wrapped inside a note that read: “I’ve saved this ounce of silver for twenty years, I’m unemployed for 13 months, my house is in foreclosure, I’m filing for bankruptcy and at 61 my retirement is shot but I still know there are families in worse shape.” (The coin’s estimated value is $30. Salvation Army officials stressed how much they cherish both the donation and its message.)
“It’s a true Christmas spirit when you get the coins just because somebody cares enough to really make a sacrifice to donate,” Steve Schroeder, development director for The Salvation Army in Bloomington, told WEEK-TV. The gold coin donated in Bloomington is up for bid in an online auction that will remain open through Friday. As of this writing, the bidding was up to $625. (To participate in the auction, click here.)Story: Salvation Army auctions off gold coin
Now in its 120th year, The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign got its start on the wharf in San Francisco in 1891. The campaign relies on more than 25,000 bell-ringers to gather donations from holiday shoppers around the country. Last year the campaign raised more than $142 million, and the money was used to help people in need with toys, food, clothing and other basic necessities.
This holiday season, donating at a red kettle became easier than ever — even for people unarmed with any cash or valuable heirlooms. Last month The Salvation Army announced that bell-ringers would start accepting credit-card donations via on-site smartphones equipped with credit-card readers.Gay groups boycott Salvation Army red kettle drive
Maj. George Hood, The Salvation Army’s national community relations and development secretary, said the shift toward new technologies makes sense.
“This year, we plan to make donating to The Salvation Army as easy as possible for our donors," Hood said.
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