Someone has been dropping gold coins into Salvation Army kettles this season. It’s happened before, but never like this year. A record six gold coins have found their way to the Salvation Army in Lee County, Florida alone. Another jingled into a kettle in Broomfield, Colorado on Wednesday, and one turned up in Grand Forks, North Dakota the day before. Three of them have appeared across Indiana, while the Salvation Army in Naperville, Illinois got one way back on November 19.
The sixth Florida coin was wrapped in a note that said “In loving memory of Mimi.” Others have been wrapped in Bible verses, and even a quote from Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
These are very valuable coins. Most of them are Krugerrands, stamped twenty or thirty years ago, and valued at over $1400. “If this amazing amount of goodwill continues during the last two days of the red kettle campaign, we may just see a miracle and meet our fund raising goal. These gold coins combined with the many other donations we have seen in the past few days truly shows the unbelievable generosity of those that call Southwest Florida home,” Salvation Army Major Tom Louden told WINK News in Fort Myers, Florida. The Army could still use a little help reaching their goals this year. You can donate online here, if you would like to follow the trail of the golden coins.
We can only guess at the provenance of this treasure: a grieving widower who liquidated an estate? A gentleman of means who heard the Salvation Army has been having a tough year, and broke open a valuable coin collection to help? The Washington Post reports a bell ringer in Colorado saw the flash of gold slipping from a man’s hand, but he said “no” and walked away when she asked him about it.
The ultimate source of the mystery coins is the deepest vault of the human heart, where an immortal compassion dwells, answering silver bells with gold that will become food and shelter. Despair draws a little further back into the cold night, and a few more people will escape its talons, thanks to generosity that requires neither salute nor gratitude. The Salvation Army has to auction those coins off, once the holiday season is done, and I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll bring a bit more than market value. Maybe the same unknown benefactors will buy the coins back at a premium, and donate them again next year. Perhaps another gold coin will have appeared, somewhere in this great and gracious nation, by the time you read these words. Tonight is the climax of a season of wonders.
Thank you, Mimi, and whoever loved you enough to honor your name this way.