Mysterious Donations

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettles fill up with spare change and bills during the holiday season, but every year there’s a few unique and mysterious donations that appear. Here are a few that made our list in 2010:

South African Krugerrand

Krugerrands – A South African gold Krugerrand coin worth $1,100 was dropped into a Shreveport, LA Salvation Army red kettle. Two more Krugerrand coins were dropped into Salvation Army red kettles in Fort Collins, CO. Yet another was anonymously donated in Kauai, Hawaii. Who knew so many people have Krugerrands?

Wedding Band and Diamond Ring – This surprising donation was found wrapped around a $1 dollar bill in a kettle in Indiana.

In a similar incident in Minnesota, a woman donated her husband’s wedding band to a kettle, but it was on accident. Thankfully, she recovered it from The Salvation Army when she noticed it was gone from her coin purse. Whoops!

[Double Eagle Gold Coin]
Double Eagle Gold Coin

Gold coin, donated “In Loving Memory of Mimi.” For the past six years, an anonymous donor has dropped a $20 Double Eagle gold coin – wrapped in a note honoring Mimi – into one of South Florida’s Red Kettles. The coin, printed in 1928, is valued at $1,400.

Several other rare gold and silver coins have been donated to kettles all over the country!

Secret Santa donates $100,000

$100,000 from the North Pole – The Salvation Army received several extremely generous, anonymous donations in our kettles this year. One however, in Joplin, Missouri, came from “Santa Claus.” Five checks totaling $20,000 came from the jolly old elf, hidden in folded dollar bills.

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A Sudanese “Lost Boy” Finds New Family, Home with The Salvation Army

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Do you ever wonder, “Who are those people who so faithfully ring the bells alongside Salvation Army Red Kettles every holiday season? What is it that motivates each of them to serve?”

What makes many of these faithful servants unique is that many bell ringers have been on the other side of the social service system. They have first-hand experience at homelessness and going without – bell ringers like Peter Adup, one of the “lost boys” from Sudan who escaped to the U.S. as a teenager when his entire family perished due to political strife. He has no immediate family left, but The Salvation Army has become his family.

He currently resides at a Salvation Army homeless shelter, where he’s working to get back on his feet with gainful employment – perhaps even as a Salvation Army officer one day! In his free time, he volunteers every chance he gets, including as a bell ringer.

Peter Adup is recognized as Southern California’s “Bellringer of the Year.” (Photo from Salvation Army of Southern California’s Facebook album.)

For three years in a row now he’s been stationed at one of the highest trafficked kettles in Los Angeles.
Due to his contagious smile and amazing energy, his has one of the most successful kettles in town.

Despite all of the hardship Peter has faced in his home land – or perhaps because it – Peter’s desire is to pursue full-time ministry and return to Africa as a missionary.

His amazing attitude and contagious energy are evident to all, and those are just a few of the reasons the Southern California Division has named him “Bell Ringer of the Year.”

His is an inspiring story of triumphing despite all odds.

Information submitted by Dawn Wright from The Salvation Army USA’s Southern California Division. Thanks Dawn!

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Now That’s The Holiday Spirit

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean the spirit of Christmas has to be. Today we’re sharing with you stories of many ordinary people who have done extraordinary things to give back to those in need. If you ever think that you don’t know what you can do to foster change, we hope you’ll be encouraged by these stories of individuals of all different ages and means who find creative ways to help others.

Lynn Smith (Photo: WAVE News)

A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY WISH

Lynn Smith of Kentucky has for years adopted angels through The Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree program. But this year, as she turns 50, she wanted to do something extra special – so Smith adopted 50 angels! She enlisted about 40 friends to help as their birthday present to her.

BINGO!

Mary Timmons was hesitant to take up bingo because she viewed it as gambling. However, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with the money. For the past six months, the 97-year-old has been saving all of her 50-cent bingo winnings in order to donate it to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle fundraiser. This December she dropped more than $40 in quarters into a Red Kettle outside her local Walmart.

Bob and Betty Haldeman (Photo: John Carrington/ Savannah Morning News)

CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND

For several years Bob and Betty Haldeman have created a winter wonderland of Christmas lights on their lawn (and the lawns of their neighbors) to be enjoyed by the public. They play Christmas music, serve free coffee and hot chocolate, and collect donations for The Salvation Army Red Kettle fundraiser. Over the past 12 years with their light display they’ve collected $50,000 for the campaign!

“THANKS-FOR-GIVING”

Dan and Denise Costa of Modesto, CA have volunteered with The Salvation Army since the 1970’s. They were instrumental in creating the annual “Thanks-For-Giving” event for people in need held at the Modesto convention center. Unlike a traditional food line, the event mirrors the experience of a 4-star, fine dining restaurant with linen table cloths, garnished tables, plated dinners, music and entertainment, games for kids, and full table service. Dan and Denise even write letters to the public and collection donations to fund the dinner so that it comes at no cost to The Salvation Army. More than 1,000 people enjoy “Thanks-For-Giving” each year.

SMALL COINS REAP BIG GAINS

The Salvation Army of Greensburg recently concluded its first ‘World’s Largest Kettle’ Campaign, a program aimed at filling the world’s largest Salvation Army kettle with 5.4 million pennies. While the program did not succeed at filling the entire kettle, $20,000 was raised in pennies in just one day. Donors to the program ranged from young children who contributed just a few pennies, to a man who had been saving pennies since 1963 and was looking for a special avenue to share those pennies. A local middle school had homerooms compete against each other and collected 963 pounds of pennies—an estimated $1,500.00. A local bartender collected more than 75 pounds of pennies from tips and other loose change left at the bar.

MYSTERY SANTA

Salvation Army Captain Deborah Weigner dropped off 35 Angel Tree tags at the local Walmart in Corry, PA for shoppers to sponsor a child a need before Christmas. When she returned to the store another day, the service desk attendant informed her that every single child’s wish list had been taken care of. An anonymous Ohio business owner had come through the store and seen the tags. He took each one and employed the help of other shoppers to buy everything on the tags, stating “No child shall be left behind this Christmas.” He spent more than $1,400 to make sure that they would all have a merry Christmas.

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Show Us Your RTRK Photos

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thousands of you turned out or tuned in online to our first Rock the Red Kettle Concert. Thanks for the awesome support and donations! By the way, we love, love, LOVE all of your photos that have been tagged on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.

If you haven’t posted your pics yet, what are you waiting for? Tag them as The Salvation Army USA to have them linked on our Facebook page (SalvationArmyUSA) or use #RocktheRedKettle for Twitter and Twitpic. We want to see them!

Check out these shots that have already been posted by fans:

[Americana at Brand stage. Photo by @LaurenKate22]
Here’s where it all happened, at the Americana at Brand. Pic posted on Twitter by @LaurenKate22

Hanging out with New Hollow! Pic posted on Twitter by @CJAnderson626

[Emily Osment Flickr photo by lisa_hiser]
Emily Osment was a hit with the crowd. Flickr Photo posted by lisa_hiser

[One Call Flickr photo by lisa_hiser]
One Call proved to be great singers AND serious dancers. Flickr photo by lisa_hiser

[Ashlyne Huff Flickr photo by lisa_hiser]
Ashlyne Huff sang her hear out. Flickr photo by lisa_hiser

[Honor Society Flickr photo by Lisa_Hiser]
The night ended on a great note with Honor Society. Flickr photo by lisa_hiser

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You Guys Rock!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just wanted to post a quick THANKS to everyone who turned out or tuned in to our first Rock the Red Kettle last night! What a show! We loved getting to rock out with you and sharing more about our cause.

Thanks for all the donations and incredible support. Let’s do it again!

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Watch Rock the Red Kettle Concert LIVE Stream Here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For those of you who aren’t in the vicinity of Glendale, CA, we’re bringing Glendale to you. We’re streaming The Salvation Army’s inaugural Rock the Red Kettle Concert LIVE, starting tonight at 7pm PST/10pmEST.

The great thing about tuning in via live stream is it’s easy for young philanthropists to be involved! If you want to help bands like Honor Society, Ashlyne Huff, and New Hollow support our cause, you can simply click to donate while watching the show or use your phone to donate $10 by texting the word “GIVE” to 85944.

Enjoy the show tonight, and join the conversation below to let us know what you think:

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Rock the Red Kettle with Us!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finally, our first ever Rock the Red Kettle is happening TOMORROW, Dec. 15! We’re going to be jingle-bell-rockin’ all night long with the hottest young bands, and we want you to be a part of it by watching LIVE at 7pm PST via www.ustream.tv/rocktheredkettle.

Plus, we’ve got a new addition to the star-studded lineup since our last update: Honor Society! Fans are still talking about how much they loved their White Christmas music video and Here Comes Trouble tour.

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Blizzard Forces Stop to Red Kettle Campaign for First Time in Minnesota History

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blizzard conditions have wreaked havoc across the Midwest since this weekend. By all indications, it’s BAD.

So bad that for the first time in history, The Salvation Army’s Northern Division has had to cancel bell ringing and pull Red Kettles from the streets and store fronts!

The unprecedented event even made the top headline on the national news website Drudge Report.

[Front page of Drudge Report]

The Northern Division, which covers Minnesota and North Dakota, is concerned the blizzard will put them significantly behind in fundraising, and they expect to be short $500,000 in the Twin Cities alone.

The loss of these funds will directly affect the work of The Salvation Army’s feeding programs, food pantries, homeless shelters and the countless other services they provide in Minnesota and North Dakota.

If you’d like to help The Salvation Army beat this blizzard, go to http://www.thesalarmy.org/cont/donate.htm to learn how to donate to The Salvation Army’s efforts in the Twin Cities and all across the country.

Thanks for your help!

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Help Us Thank Our Amazing Partners!

Monday, December 13, 2010

If you’ve started to tackle your Christmas shopping, you’ve probably noticed our Salvation Army red kettles are out in full force. There’s going to be around 25,000 workers and volunteers this season collecting donations in front of your favorite stores.

This iconic tradition and vital fundraiser started in 1891 in San Francisco would not be the same without the generous support of the businesses who welcome Salvation Army bell ringers and kettles outside their doors.

Have you noticed that everyone you know recognizes a Salvation Army bell ringer and kettle? That’s because thanks to these businesses kindly sharing their space with us, we’ve been able to significantly raise awareness of need in your local community and our efforts to serve that need.

In fact, this broad visibility has contributed to The Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign being known as one of the most enduring and recognizable fundraising campaigns ever.

As if that weren’t enough, many of these stores even match kettle donations or contribute their own!

Here at The Salvation Army we want to offer a huge THANK YOU to all the stores who welcome our red kettles. Thank you for believing in our cause and giving us the opportunity. We’re proud to partner with you in serving our communities.

Next time you see a kettle outside a store, we encourage you to let the business know how much you appreciate their support of The Salvation Army. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them!

Below is a list of our national store partners. This list is not exhaustive, as there are many more regional and local businesses who participate in our Red Kettle Campaign as well:

* Big Lots
* Bloomingdale’s
* Hobby Lobby
* JCPenney
* Kroger
* Macy’s
* Sam’s Club
* Simon Malls
* Walgreens
* WalMart

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All I Want for Christmas

Friday, December 10, 2010

Singer-songwriter Ashlyne Huff teamed up with The Salvation Army to record her own version and music video of the holiday classic “All I Want for Christmas.”

We love it because the Ashlyne’s not only got a great voice, but her message is all about giving back. Throughout the video you see clips of her serving at real Salvation Army programs!

Check it out below. If you like what you see, you can find more of Ashlyne next week, when she’ll be performing with other hit artists for our free Rock the Red Kettle Concert. We’ll be streaming it live at this site next Wednesday.

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