CHAMPAIGN — An anonymous donor who slipped a gold coin into one of the Salvation Army's red kettles has helped boost a sagging fundraising campaign this season.
"The gold coin is a shot in the arm during a challenging year for our kettle donations," Major Tom McDowell, corps officer of the Salvation Army of Champaign County, said.
The 2003 half-ounce gold Liberty coin that was deposited in a kettle at the Wal-Mart store in Savoy on Saturday was a significant gift, McDowell said. It has a face value of $25, a minimum value of $600, and will be placed for auction so the organization can receive the maximum value for it.
The Salvation Army says its kettle donations as of Monday were $146,000, 77 percent of what they were at this time last year.
With the kettle campaign set to end Christmas Eve, the organization is less than halfway to this year's fundraising goal of $428,000.
But McDowell said the Salvation Army intends to make the most of its remaining red kettle time and is thankful for all donations already received.
"The community has been very generous this year and has responded to a number of urgent needs," he said.
Donations can still be made anytime by mail to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 618, Champaign, IL 61824.