Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This season of giving will be one to remember for the Salvation Army. From the get-go, the organization needed to raise more than ever through its red kettle campaign.
In the Twin Cities, the Salvation Army set a goal to raise $11.4 million. It will fall short of that amount, but a giver nicknamed St. Grand is making a huge difference.
“We started to see strange things in our kettle,” said Annette Bauer of the Salvation Army.
From diamond rings in North Carolina to gold coins in Indiana, giving has reached new heights.
“We did actually get some gold teeth in Miami, Florida,” Bauer said. “That’s very unusual.”
It’s a series of donations in the north metro, however, that has created a real Christmas mystery. It was on Nov. 19, when 10 neatly folded $100 bills appeared in a red kettle bucket. That was just the beginning. The same donation showed up on Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 12.
“Finally, we figured this is a pattern; something is going on here,” Bauer said. “This may be the same person.”
This mystery person may now be responsible for giving a total of $18,000.
“That’s why we call him, St. Grand. We feel like its a saintly thing to do,” Bauer said.
Victoria Johnson, who donated to the red kettle campaign, said that St. Grand is exercising the best kind of giving: anonymous giving.
“Anonymous giving is the best giving, because you don’t do it because people are watching,” she said.
St. Grand’s giving has already motivated others hundreds of miles away in International Falls.
“They put a note with their 10 $100 bills that said, ‘I was inspired. I wanted to do the same,’” said Bauer.
Barb Young, a bell ringer, said she hopes more $100 bills will come falling into red buckets across the state.
“I’ve heard they’ve been striking a whole bunch of places,” she said. “It would be great if they did again, today.”
As many await the arrival of St. Nick, it seems St. Grand has already spread plenty of holiday cheer.
“I think the giving is what makes this person happy,” Bauer said.
In all, 19 $1,000 donations have shown up in the kettles. It’s a big help to the Salvation Army who brought in $5.6 million this year. However, that sum is still well below the goal of $11.4 million.
If you’d like to donate to the Salvation Army, click here.