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'Secret Santas' leave generous donations in local Salvation Army kettles

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The time of year in which trips to the grocery include the sound of ringing bells is upon us, as well as a time when we often seem to hear about mysterious individuals making generous donations.

According to a Salvation Army spokesman on Dec. 5, a count of the money in a kettle in Lake Zurich, Ill. revealed that someone had discreetly dropped in four gold coins worth over $5000 total. The $50 coins weigh an ounce apiece and are each worth $1,300.

“This time of year, we are reminded of the generosity of our donors, and the needs of our clients," Capt. David Martinez of The Salvation Army Des Plaines Corps told CBS Chicago.

Meanwhile, another Secret Santa struck outside a Joplin, Mo. Walmart on Black Friday. At the end of the day, the two Salvation Army bell ringers working at the kettle discovered that what looked like dollar bills actually concealed five $10,000 checks.

As amazing as that sounds, it's actually not the first time the Joplin chapter has received a huge anonymous donation. In fact, officials estimate that the donor (or donors) has contributed at least $500,000 in hefty sums over the last 10 years.

“It’s never the same person and our bell ringers can’t ever tell you who it was who put the money in because it’s usually wrapped in bills,” Salvation Army Lt. Jamie Curry said. “It’s always wrapped in a way that we would know it was from ‘Secret Santa.’”

“You can imagine how many people we’ve been able to help with all that,” she added.

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