Bridal jewelry donations are making the holiday bright for Salvation Army chapters throughout the country.
The Salvation Army's bell ringing season starts each November and runs through Christmas Eve. While the bulk of donations come in the form of coins and paper money, the most meaningful (and valuable) ones contain a bit of bling.
Earlier this month in Billerica, Mass., an anonymous donor dropped a diamond engagement ring and wedding band into a Salvation Army Red Kettle outside of a local grocery store. The bridal set was valued at $3,500.
“We’re excited and incredibly grateful to the individual who made such a generous and kind donation,” Major David B. Davis, divisional commander of the Massachusetts Salvation Army, said in a press release. “Our Red Kettles represent the spirit of giving, and this incredible gift will ensure that local children will have a brighter Christmas and that families and seniors will get the resources they need all year round.”
The proceeds from the donation will be used to provide services for thousands of children, families and seniors in the local area. This includes meals, toys and other holiday support for those in need, along with funding for food pantries, soup kitchens, social services and education programs.
Last year, we wrote about an anonymous widow, whose donation of her wedding ring and diamond engagement ring in nearby Boston made headlines across the country. The widow included a note that said she was making the donation in honor of her late husband’s joy of Christmastime gift giving.
She wrote, "I’ve dropped my wedding ring in your Red Kettle knowing that the money from its sale will buy toys for needy children. In all seasons, my husband was a giver. I especially remember his joy in giving at Christmastime, especially to those in need. To honor his memory, I donate this ring.”
So touched by the widow's generosity, a second benefactor pledged $21,000 to The Salvation Army to have the rings reunited with their original owner.
This year, social media is filled with accounts of bridal jewelry being dropped into Red Kettles across the country. Typically, The Salvation Army will hold the rings for a week or longer, just in case they were dropped into the kettles by mistake.
• In Miami, a frequent Secret Santa and Salvation Army benefactor dropped a platinum and diamond ring appraised at $3,000 into a Salvation Army Red Kettle outside a Winn-Dixie store. The ring was wrapped in a $20 bill and included a note that read, "There are so many who need help. Keep doing good! God bless The Salvation Army. A friend.”
This is the sixth year in a row that the anonymous benefactor has contributed valuable items. Previous gifts have included a gold nugget, an emerald and diamond necklace, and a diamond ring. Each year, the Secret Santa leaves a voice mail alerting The Salvation Army to be on the lookout for a special gift.
• In Wilson County, Tenn., an anonymous donor dropped three rings, including a wedding set, into a Salvation Army Red Kettle. The rings were wrapped neatly inside a dollar bill and then placed in a plastic bag. Their combined value was estimated to be $1,100.
• In Fayetteville, N.C., a bell ringer for The Salvation Army was surprised by the sound of an odd "clank" at the bottom of her donation kettle. The items making the unusual sound turned out to be a bridal set, which was later appraised at $1,770.
• In Durham, N.C., an anonymous person placed two crumpled dollar bills into a kettle at a local Walmart. The dollars hid a diamond ring.
• In Sheboygan, Wis., volunteer bell ringers at a Festival Foods found a one-carat diamond ring at the bottom of their Red Kettle. The diamond was wrapped in its original receipt that dated back to 1996. It was purchased at that time for $2,200. Salvation Army representatives are currently having the ring appraised to determine its current value.
Credits: Red Kettle via Facebook/SalvationArmyUSA; screen captures via WCVB.com; ring photos courtesy of Salvation Army.