A golden donation

Good Samaritan drops gold bar in Salvation Army red kettle

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Dollar bills. Spare change. The usual fare dropped into the Salvation Army’s red kettles, positioned around Marshalltown and other cities during the holiday season. But earlier this week, one kettle was found to be $1,200 richer, thanks to a single donation alone.

“On Monday, someone dropped a gold bar into our kettle at Walmart,” said Major Ben Stillwell. “We were alerted of it, and got it appraised locally on Tuesday.”

While the size and heft of the gold bar helped point to its worth, representatives of the Salvation Army didn’t want to get its hopes up.

“Last year, we found a Chinese gold coin in a kettle, and upon testing it, found it wasn’t actually gold, but the person meant well,” Stillwell added.

The gold bar is marked: “Johnson Matthey. Assayers & Refiners. Fine Gold. 9999. 1 Ounce Troy.”

“We have a person, who wishes to remain anonymous, who wants to purchase it from us, and give us a check [in return],” Stillwell said.

The sum from such a sale would go toward the Salvation Army’s Oct. 1, 2017-Oct. 1, 2018 fundraising goal of $145,500. Stillwell pointed out that while the Christmas season is an especially busy one for the organization, funds are used and needed year-round.

Just this last fiscal year, the Salvation Army saw a 246 percent increase in the local need for help paying utilities; a 39 percent increase in rent assistance, and a 252 percent increase in general assistance, among other expenses.

“The cost of living goes up every year,” he said.

The gold bar, which is worth roughly $1,200, is about the equivalent of what the city’s red kettles collect in a day’s time.

“The generosity of this individual is unbelievable,” Stillwell said.

The Salvation Army has red kettles and volunteers stationed at Fareway, Hobby Lobby, Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Drug, JC Penney, Theisen’s, Walgreens and Walmart, and some other local entities.

For more information about its services, and ways to give, contact the Salvation Army at (641) 753-5236.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com