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Tuesday
Dec132011

Salvation Army Surprise: Gold Bars Dropped Into Collection Kettles

PRNewsFoto/The Salvation Army(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The Salvation Army got a little more than the usual spare change this weekend.

Over the weekend, two gold bars were dropped into Salvation Army collection kettles -- a 10-gram gold bar worth up to $800 and a 5-gram gold bar worth $310 -- in different parts of Kansas City, Mo.

Last year the Salvation Army received an identical 5-gram gold bar worth $300, according to Major Michele Heaver, a Salvation Army spokeswoman.

The grand gestures aren’t limited to gold, however. Two weeks ago, a loose 3/4-carat diamond said to be worth about $2,000 was found in a kettle outside a Walmart in Shawnee, Kan. The appraiser offered to place the stone in a setting so the Salvation Army could auction it off as a ring, but the group has not yet decided what to do with it.

Heaver said her unit has found silver dollars (including one that had never been circulated), tokens for pizza places, a gold wedding band, a dead goldfish and a scrabble piece in their collection kettles.  Those are strange but small objects, able to fit through the small slot in the kettle. How the donor fit the gold bars into the slot is unknown.

The kettle tradition dates back to 1891, when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was looking for a way to fund holiday dinners for the poor. He decided to use a pot to collect money, with a sign that read “Keep the Pot Boiling.”

Today, the Salvation Army helps more than 4.5 million people during the holidays, providing poor families with toys and Christmas food baskets.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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