For the eighth time, an anonymous donor dropped a 1980 South African gold Krugerrand in the kettle at a St. Clair Shores Kroger.

For the eighth time, an anonymous donor dropped a 1980 South African gold Krugerrand in the kettle at a St. Clair Shores Kroger.

Photo provided by Salvation Army

Salvation Army celebrates donation of 8th gold coin

South African gold Krugerrand valued at about $2,000

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 11, 2020


ST. CLAIR SHORES — The year 2020 may have destroyed many things, but not the Christmas spirit in St. Clair Shores.

For the eighth time, an anonymous donor brought joy and celebration to the counters at the Salvation Army’s Warren Community Center when they discovered that a 1980 South African gold Krugerrand had been dropped in the kettle at Kroger, 23191 Marter Road, on Dec. 8.

“This has gone on since, like 2013. We’ve had quite a few of these coins on an annual basis. We don’t know who it is,” said Major Matt Grindle, of the Salvation Army of Metro Detroit. “I’ve had this happen in other corps and tried to figure out who it is, and it isn’t an easy thing to do.”

The donation is of even more assistance this year than in the recent past, as the value of gold has risen. Grindle said when he was working a few years ago in the Holland, Michigan, area, a donation of a gold coin brought the Salvation Army about $1,350.

“Now, it’s up to about $2,000, so gold has gone up quite a bit,” he said. “We’re not in the investment business. We’ll turn it around and turn it into liquid cash so we can help people.”

According to the Salvation Army of Metro Detroit, the $2,030 estimated value of the coin can be used to buy more than 100 basic needs kits to feed people; purchase 81 coats for children; help 40 victims of emergency disasters; send 27 kids to camp; or provide meals for 20 families of four for a week.

“It’s just one little coin. It’s about the size of a half dollar, solid gold,” Grindle said. “They’re hard to miss if you find one in your kettle. They stand out.”

More people are in need of help this year, Grindle said, and traffic is down at storefronts where volunteers ring their bells to collect donations. The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit has a goal of raising $8 million this Christmas season.

“The need is considerably up and funding is down,” he said. “People continue to be generous with us (but) the traffic at the storefronts is down.

“It’s a bit of a challenge this year with cash. Fewer people are carrying cash, and you’re encouraged not to carry it.”

There are other ways to donate to the Salvation Army without carrying coins and dollar bills, however. Donors can text GIFT to 24365, donate at, call (877) SAL-MICH or pay without contact at the red kettles using Apple Pay or Google Pay.

“Each stand has a QR code, and you can scan it with your phone and it takes it to the website to make a donation,” Grindle said. “Our bell ringers are a way of reminding our communities that we’re here and there are people in our community that need our help.”