Salvation Army receives gold coin in 2 local buckets

By: Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published December 19, 2019

 For each of the past seven years, an anonymous donor has given the Salvation Army a rare Krugerrand valued at approximately $1,500.

For each of the past seven years, an anonymous donor has given the Salvation Army a rare Krugerrand valued at approximately $1,500.

Photos provided by Tracy Wolf

 Salvation Army Major Cornell Voeller stands with the rare 1978 South African gold Krugerrand donated in one of the group’s collection buckets.

Salvation Army Major Cornell Voeller stands with the rare 1978 South African gold Krugerrand donated in one of the group’s collection buckets.

Photos provided by Tracy Wolf

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“I would want to thank this person from the bottom of our hearts. We appreciate their generosity. This is a donor that really goes above and beyond, so we are extremely grateful for their generosity and willingness to improve the lives of others.”

Candice Voeller, Salvation Army Major

ROSEVILLE/ST. CLAIR SHORES — When most people pass a Salvation Army collection bucket around the holidays, they might throw in a dollar or some spare change. One generous individual has been giving the organization rare South African gold Krugerrands annually.

For the last seven years, an anonymous donor has given one such coin to the Salvation Army via the organization’s bell ringers and collection buckets.

“This is the seventh year we have received a gold coin like this. (The first) one showed up at the Kroger in Roseville at Little Mack and 13 Mile Road,” explained Maj. Cornell Voeller, corps officer for the Salvation Army’s Warren office, which oversees the Roseville area. “We have no idea who is doing this. They are just dropping it in one of our kettles.” 

The Dec. 17 donation of a 1978 South African gold Krugerrand was the first time it’s shown up in Roseville. In the past, it’s always showed up in St. Clair Shores at the Kroger on Marter Road. 

“Normally the coins are found in St. Clair Shores, but this year it was Roseville,” said fellow Warren Corps officer Major Candace Voeller. “Roseville was the town that just had one of our kettles stolen recently, so it felt significant. It seems like the community is chipping in and responding to that crime with kindness.”

The following night, Voeller said they found another Krugerrand, this one from 1976, in the kettle that was located at Kroger on Marter Road in St. Clair Shores.

The Salvation Army said each coin is valued at approximately $1,500. Cornell Voeller said this is a big step toward helping the Salvation Army’s annual collection efforts.

“We’re trying to raise $8 million in the metro Detroit area, so this will help with that,” he said. “That money will help our year-round efforts. This means supporting our homeless shelter in Warren, which has 65 beds, a social work office and food pantry, and initiatives like our after-school programs and senior activity programs.”

Cornell Voeller said that this year, donations are down about 10%, so an extra $3,000 is a significant boost to the campaign.

Candice Voeller said the discovery of the coin was a thrill for the volunteers.

“Every night when we bring the kettles in, we prepare the money for the bank, and one of our volunteers found it,” she said. “Everyone was so excited. They texted me with a photo saying ‘Look what we got!’ It was very nice.”

The gold is so bright and shining that it really stands out from the rest of the change, Cornell Voeller said, explaining that the Krugerrands are much heavier than a typical coin, as well.

Salvation Army personnel will sell the coin to a collector and use the cash to help with its nonprofit programming.

“We take it to a collector, have it appraised and sell it to them,” Candice Voeller said. “The cash then goes back to the Salvation Army here in Warren. All the money raised in a community stays in that community, so these funds will serve families in this area.”

The funds will help the organization in a variety of ways.

“We have families in emergency situations via utility or rent assistance, programming for senior citizens, sports programs, educational programs, shelter lodging and so much else,” said Candice Voeller. “We cover a variety of needs.”

The Salvation Army’s leadership wants people to know that they don’t have to dig up any special coins to help out — just giving whatever is available can assist people.

“You can donate any amount at the red kettles. Every penny adds up. You also can volunteer your time. Our bell ringers will be out there until Christmas Day,” said Cornell Voeller. “We’re just very grateful for their generosity for such a wonderful gift. We are equally thankful to those who give even a little bit. It helps so many people.”

They did want to stress how grateful they are to the mysterious stranger who has been giving them their special annual gift.

“I would want to thank this person from the bottom of our hearts. We appreciate their generosity,” remarked Candice Voeller. “This is a donor that really goes above and beyond, so we are extremely grateful for their generosity and willingness to improve the lives of others.”

The Red Kettle drive ends Christmas Eve, but donations are accepted year-round at salmich.org.

Staff writer Kristyne E. Demske contributed to this report.

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