Bell ringers get gold coins, ring
You may toss some spare change into the Salvation Army red kettle outside your local grocery store, but would you believe what other people throw into them?
The Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle Campaign, which posts bell ringers outside stores and on street corners all over the United States, has seen some generous -- and unusual -- donations this year.
In the Spokane, Wash., area, bell ringers reported finding a diamond ring, worth $5,000, wrapped in a dollar bill, KREM 2 News reported. They also found a 1-ounce silver coin wrapped in a note explaining that the donor had held onto it for 20 years, and though unemployed for more than a year, facing foreclosure and bankruptcy, "I still know there are families in worse shape," the donor wrote.
In the Chicago area, bell ringers found their first gold coin of the season on Dec. 2 -- a 1-ounce solid gold South African Krugerrand worth almost $1,800, The Beacon-News reported. The Aurora Salvation Army has been receiving anonymous gold coin donations -- usually wrapped inside a dollar bill -- for the past four or five years, said Antonio Romero, a Salvation Army captain.
Elsewhere, a kettle in Fort Myers, Fla., revealed a $20 gold coin, according to The Miami Herald. (Meanwhile, a Salvation Army bell ringer in Naples, Fla., was arrested Dec. 3, allegedly for stealing about $600 from his own and another kettle, the Naples Daily News reported.)
Other interesting donations so far this year, reported on the Salvation Army Blog:
- Thirty-six $100 bills in a red kettle in Chattanooga, Tenn., as reported by CBN News.
- A "dime-sized gold coin worth $200" in Coralville, Iowa, according to The Republic.
- A half a troy ounce American Gold Eagle bullion coin worth about $850, in Tyler, Texas, according to KLTV.
Donations reported in past years have included South AfricanKrugerrandsin Colorado, Hawaii and Louisiana; gold wedding bands in Indiana; and a gold nugget family keepsake in Florida. Post continues below.Salvation Army donations down
The annual Red Kettle donation drive, now in its 120th year, raises millions of dollars nationwide to help more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to the Salvation Army. Red kettles also collect donations in other countries, including Korea, Japan and Chile.
Though Reuters reports that "several recent surveys indicate that charities and nonprofits can expect giving to be more bountiful at the end of 2011, particularly compared to the last two years," some Salvation Army chapters are reporting that donations are down in their communities.
Together, Salvation Army chapters in Columbia and Jefferson City, Mo., are $60,000 behind on local donations, KOMU TV reported. The local chapters' annual budgets depend heavily on money raised during the Red Kettle Campaign.
And in Lakeland and Winter Haven, Fla., the Salvation Army chapters are behind on donations of both clothing and toys, The Ledger reported.
New ways of giving
The Salvation Army opened the door to new high-tech ways to donate to the kettles last month when it announced that bell ringers would use on-site smartphones equipped with credit card readers to accept non-cash donations in select cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and New York.
The Salvation Army is also collecting holiday donations online through its Online Red Kettle program, which accepts credit card payments. The online campaign has raised $332,177 toward its $3 million goal for this season.
Have you thrown any spare change -- or diamond rings -- into a bell ringer's kettle this year? And do you expect your overall holiday season donations to be more or less than previous years'?
More on MSN Money:
· The American Red Cross President and CEO Marsha J. Evans salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses, and a $ 65k sign on bonus.
· The United Way President Brian Gallagher receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.
· UNICEF CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE . Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.
GO "GREEN" INSTEAD AND PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE IT WILL DO SOME GOOD:
· The Salvation Army's Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization. 96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.
· The American Legion National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
· The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their
families and youth!
· The Disabled American Veterans National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
· The Military Order of Purple Hearts National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
· The Vietnam Veterans Association National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
Based on the amount that goes to help the needy vs. "overhead" S.A. is the ONLY charity that I give to any more ! And I don't limit my donations to them to Christmas, they help folks year round. When the top Officer in the organization makes only 13K plus housing for a yearly salary, with an annual outlay of hundreds of millions of dollars(donated to folks in need) and he administers the entire budget, it just makes sense to donate to the organization.
Too bad the Red Cross is so profit motivated....they collect far more $$$ per year than does the SA, and return far LESS to those in need. And usually try to bill for it, after the crisis is over.
The S.A. just GIVES.
There is a reason why they wrap it in a dollar bill. so people dont see it and try to steal from the Salvation Army. Thats just giving people more reason to rob...idiots
Having worked for them also, I can tell you for a fact that The Salvation Army utilizes nearly all private donations from Kettles and Mail Appeals for supporting the minister, his family and other "necessities" like multiple private vehicles, the gasoline, cells, laptops, cable, utilities, their food supplies, kids' school costs, etc. The money used for services generally is from government sources and is limited to direct services only, or they would probably use that for the ministers' needs also. Most of the ministers are very well off financially, despite what is claimed in the news, and their living situation is upper middle class to elite.
The Kettle donations of gold, jewelry, etc are often Public Relations tricks by The Salvation Army to generate publicity and to encourage others to give such precious heirlooms. Look at this agency's national/world budget, they bring in billions yearly and really don't need a $5,000 ring or any donations. They are mega-business, corporate and have billions in trust funds set aside to buy houses for their own, the ministers that run the place. They have thousands of officers, wives, children and their other relatives all sucking down salaries thanks to your hard donations.
Give your money and jewelry to small local charities,that will likely use it to actually help people-that makes a difference, not giving a thousand dollars to a corporation that brings in billions yearly.
I know why people are donating less! It is because they are buying shiny $800 Apple products!
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