As Salvation Army volunteers in Holland tallied their red kettle donations on Wednesday, they discovered a golden surprise – one worth more than $1,100.
Volunteers discovered a Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin – with a face value of $50 -- as they sifted through the kettle donations at its community center on Dec. 16.
"I was shocked," Jeremy Monteith, Salvation Army's development director for Ottawa County, said on Friday, Dec 18. "You always hear about Salvation Army receiving gold coins, but I've been here for 10 years and this is the first time it's happened here."
Salvation Army officials brought the Canadian coin to Holland Coin and Jewelry to have it appraised on Thursday.
Chris Miner, owner of the coin shop, confirmed that the coin is 1-ounce of pure bullion (gold), and holds a retail value of $1,120.
"It's a nice donation for them," he said.
For years, anonymous donors have dropped gold coins in Salvation Army's red kettles across the country. The coins – some of which are accompanied by a note – generally reach over $1,000 in value.
The coin plopped into the red kettle at the Family Fare grocery store location on Washington Street in Holland did not include a note.
"We have no idea who gave it, but we are very thankful for it," Monteith said. "It just shows that people are very generous and trust the Salvation Army to use donations like that in the correct way."
Monteith said they plan to sell the coin to a dealer and put that donation money toward the services they provide for those in need.
Last year, the Salvation Army in Holland – which serves southern Ottawa County and all of Allegan County – had 11,000 individuals inquire about needing assistance, including food, clothing and rent and utility bills. They predict about the same amount this year, according to Monteith.
The bells of Salvation Army's Red Kettle drive began ringing throughout the nation on Black Friday. Christmas Eve day is the final day for the 2015 holiday season donations.
With more than 30 red kettle locations in the Holland area, all of the money raised at those sites will remain local, Monteith said.
"It was just exciting to know that we get to be part of this and provide a lot of services to a lot of people," he said.