$1,300 gold coin dropped into red ket­tle

St. Clair Shores Kroger has re­ceived Sal­va­tion Army gift each year since 2013

The Detroit News - - Metro - BY SARAH RAHAL The Detroit News

St. Clair Shores — A se­cret Santa has been drop­ping more than just spare change into Michi­gan Sal­va­tion Army red ket­tles for the past six years.

While bring­ing the ket­tles in for the day on Wed­nes­day night, a Sal­va­tion Army of­fi­cial no­ticed a shiny gold coin wrapped up in a dol­lar bill.

“As we were go­ing through the ket­tle, we no­ticed some­one had wrapped the coin in a $1 bill and slipped it in with­out it be­ing no­ticed,” said Maj. Can­dace Voeller, a corps of­fi­cer for the Sal­va­tion Army in War­ren. “We knew im­me­di­ately what it was be­cause we’ve been for­tu­nate enough to re­ceive six of these in the past.”

The 1980 South African gold Kruger­rand was dropped into the ket­tle Wed­nes­day at a Kroger in St. Clair Shores. The coin, val­ued at $1,300, will help the Metro Detroit cam­paign reach its $8.2 mil­lion goal this year, Voeller said.

Since 2013, the mys­te­ri­ous and gen­er­ous in­di­vid­ual or in­di­vid­u­als have de­posited Kruger­rand coins into the red bucket al­ways around the same time frame and lo­ca­tion. The Sal­va­tion Army be­lieves it’s the same per­son based on track­ing the last few years, but say there’s no way to tell.

“We’re not sure who it is, but be­cause it’s been year af­ter year for the last sev­eral years, we think it might be the same per­son,” Voeller said. “We’re thank­ful for them and their de­sire to give back to their com­mu­nity. We’re ben­e­fi­cia­ries of their gen­eros­ity.”

Kruger­rand, a one-ounce gold coin of South Africa, was first is­sued in 1967. It was is­sued for in­vest­ment pur­poses and bears a por­trait of Transvaal Pres­i­dent Stephanus Jo­hannes Paulus Kruger.

The Sal­va­tion Army has re­ceived a Kruger­rand at the St. Clair Shores Kroger each year since 2013. Kruger­rands also were found in ket­tles at a drug store in Ban­gor Town­ship in 2013 and 2014. The Sal­va­tion Army also found a 1997 Gold Ea­gle coin at a Kroger in Gar­den City in 2016 and a 1925 gold En­gel­hard Prospec­tor do­nated at a Ro­seville Kroger in 2017.

Wed­nes­day’s do­na­tion brings the to­tal to six coins that have been do­nated since 2013 with an es­ti­mated value of nearly $7,400.

The Sal­va­tion Army plans to cash in the coins to use the money to fi­nan­cially sup­port the pro­grams they of­fer.

“It tremen­dously helps us meet our goal this year and it’ll be put back into the com­mu­nity, whether it is a win­ter coat, food pantry, drug and al­co­hol treat­ment cen­ters, sum­mer day camp pro­grams and emer­gency re­lief in Metro Detroit,” Voeller said. “We’re out un­til Christ­mas Eve. Come see us.”

Cour­tesy of the Sal­va­tion Army

A 1980 South African gold Kruger­rand was dropped at a St. Clair Shores Kroger.

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