DANVILLE, Ill.- Salvation Army officials rejoiced over their good fortune Tuesday after finding a South African Krugerrand in one of their red kettles earlier in the day.

“The Krugerrand boosted our spirits,” Lt. John Woodard said. “We’re always buzzing about it this time of year, hoping that we will receive one.”

Wrapped in a $10 bill the Krugerrand coin- a rare gold produced from one of the world's largest gold mines in South Africa, was dropped in the red kettle Monday night of Wal-Mart’s general doors on North Vermilion Street in Danville, Illinios. 

The red kettle is The Salvation Army's street campaign popular during the Christmas season. Volunteers stand outside of businesses and play or sing Christmas carols, or ring bells to encourage passerby to donate money inside of the trademarked red kettles. Similar donations of high-value coins, jewelry and cash are not unheard of, with donors dropping the items in kettles across the country each December.

Woodard said a volunteer who has helped the local Salvation Army for several years made the discovery around 10 a.m. Tuesday when he was counting the kettle donations from Monday night.

The gold coin is worth about $1,061, according to the gold market on Tuesday.

The local Salvation Army in Danville has been fortunate to receive a similar donation for several years. Last year, the corps received a one-troy-ounce gold bar in one of its kettles.

The gift came at a time when local Salvation Army officials were starting to worry that the corps’ red kettle campaign was falling short of its goal compared to the amount of donations collected at the same time last year in the campaign.

“The need is great, and the community has always been good about helping the less fortunate,” Woodard said. “Any loose change or dollar bills are beneficial to us. These monies help keep the lights and gas on and run our programs.”

This year’s gift of a Krugerrand is something the corps doesn’t take for granted.

“The anticipation motivates us and when we get one, it boosts our morale,” he said.

Roehm writes for the Commercial (Illinios) News. 

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