‘Never Seen Anything Like It’: Salvation Army Gets Very Special Donation Dropped Into Kettle

Salvation Army volunteer Corinne Charleston thought it was a good day when someone dropped a $50 bill into one of their red kettles.

It was about to get so much better.

A Salvation Army bell ringer stands in front of a holiday window display at Bergdorf Goodman on Dec. 9, 2013 in New York City. (Getty Images/Spencer Platt)

Charleston then unearthed a 1-ounce gold bar that had been placed in a collection kettle outside a store in northern Indiana.

“You never think it will happen to you,” Charleston told The News-Dispatch of Michigan City, Ind.

The gold bar, worth an estimated $1,200, is a first for Salvation Army Lt. Bill Brutto. He’s heard of gold coins and even diamond rings being dropped into kettles, but said he’s “never seen anything like it before.”

Captain Duane Burleigh says a few words at the Salvation Army’s annual kick-off of the Christmas Red Kettle campaign outside of a Kroger store on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 in Harrisonburg, Va. (AP/Daily News-Record, Nikki Fox)

Brutto told The News-Dispatch the gold bar was slipped anonymously into the kettle, probably wrapped in a dollar bill to hide what it was. He said a private donor has offered to pay the full value in exchange for the gold bar.

“It’s always been a Christmas tradition so to be a part of it is really cool,” he said.

Brutto said he was grateful for the large donation, as well as everything else the Salvation Army received from the community this year.

“It’s unbelievable how the community has come out and helped us,” he said. “Most Salvation Armys are struggling to meet their budgets this year.”