The Springfield Salvation Army hopes an unusual donation will inspire the community to give back this holiday season.
On Nov. 25, someone dropped a gold coin wrapped in a $100 bill into the charity’s kettle outside the Kroger on Bechtle Avenue, Springfield Salvation Army Resource Development Coordinator Ryan Ray said.
The 1-ounce pure gold coin is a 1978 South African Krugerrand and is valued at about $1,200, Ray said.
“It seems like every year we’re surprised with what’s put into our kettle,” he said. “We have no hint of who did this, which kind of makes it cool.”
The organization says that for every dollar donated to the Salvation Army in Clark County, 83 cents goes back to the community.
The charity’s kettle season started on Nov. 6 and will continue through Christmas Eve. It is the biggest fundraiser by the Salvation Army each year, Ray said, and the goal is to bring in about $130,000.
So far, more than $40,000 has been raised, Ray said, but that’s $4,000 behind the amount raised at this time last year.
Recent closures in the Upper Valley Mall of J.C. Penny, Macy’s and Kmart have left the charity with fewer kettles outside of stores, Ray said.
“We’re relying on the community to maybe dig a little deeper and kind of make up for the loss,” he said.
A Springfield man, Larry Jones Sr., donated at the same Kroger where the gold coin was dropped. He said he’s benefited from the services the charity provides.
“Once my daughter went to their martial arts program,” Jones said. “You never know when you might need help or support from the Salvation Army.”
The Salvation Army is also taking donations for its “Angel Trees” program, which will donate toys to 2,000 Clark County children as gifts. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 7.