JANESVILLE, Wis. - The Janesville Salvation Army is celebrating after an anonymous donor dropped a $1,200 gold coin into one of the group’s Red Kettles.
“Every little bit helps, big donations and small donations, but on average, a kettle is not going to bring in $1,200 in a day, let alone just a single coin, so it really was a boost,” said Maj. Bob Fay from the Salvation Army.
Fay said the anonymous donor dropped the coin in secretly at the Walgreens on Kettering Street on Dec. 12.
“The coin itself was actually wrapped in a dollar bill, and it was dropped in a kettle that was attended by a Cub Scout pack at the time,” he said.
Fay said the Salvation Army doesn’t normally have bell ringers at that location, but there were so many Cub Scouts who showed up to help, they had to split the group.
“You never really expect that you’re going to be part of that, so it’s really neat to be able to tell the boys that something really special happened,” said Dan LaVelle, a den leader for Cub Scouts Pack 410.
LaVelle said the Cub Scouts have been bell ringers for the past three years, and it’s something he wants to do every year.
“It’s good for the boys to help other people and learn that not everyone gets everything around Christmas,” LaVelle said. “People don’t always get presents or even meals, so it’s a nice way for them to learn that this is a good way to help.”
LaVelle’s two sons, Corbin and Oscar, helped ring bells.
“It’s fun, and we need to help people have food,” said Oscar, a first grader at Roosevelt Elementary School.
Corbin said his favorite part about volunteering was ringing bells and singing Christmas carols.
“That way, I could help raise money, and also, it’s just really fun,” he said.
Fay said the Salvation Army didn’t know about the coin until volunteers were counting the money the next day.
“The bags get dumped onto the table, and the volunteers are separating the currency from the coins, and that’s when the gold coin came flipping out with all the rest of it,” Fay said. “There was quite a little bit of response around the table between those preparing the deposits.”
He said they confirmed the value of the 1 ounce gold coin, and a local investor, who’s friends with one of the board members, gave the Salvation Army market value for it.
“Anytime you get a donation like that in a kettle, it’s indicative of people who are just generous to the point of not wanting any recognition,” Fay said.
He said this is the second time in about five years that someone donated a gold coin to the Janesville Salvation Army.
All the money collected during the Red Kettle campaign in Janesville stays in the community to help people in need, Fay said.
“What we raise determines what we’re able to do in a community, so we are dependent upon the donations,” he said.
The Salvation Army’s goal is to raise $375,000. The bell ringers finished collecting money Saturday, but Fay said people could still mail in donations through the middle of January.
“Every little bit helps,” Fay said. “So any donation that they might have, if they have a heart to give it to the Red Kettle, it’ll certainly go toward the goal and help people.”
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