Edgar County Salvation Army officials were breathing a little easier at the end of the week.
Budgeting for the annual kettle campaign donations includes anticipation of receiving at least one gold coin. The campaign started mid-November but a coin did not turn up until earlier this week when a series of volunteers from Horizon Health served as bell ringers for a kettle at the Kroger Grocery Store.
The $50 American Eagle coin has a market value of almost $1,300 based on gold prices Wednesday afternoon.
For several years, an anonymous benefactor has managed to secretly deposit at least one gold coin in a Salvation Army kettle. In 2017, one gold and two silver coins were left. The most left in a single year was five.
Salvation Army board member Mary Ann Heinrich speculated the American Eagle coin may represent a new donor. She said the previous donations were always found in kettles from Rural King, and the American Eagle was also disguised differently than coins were in the past.
“It makes me wonder if the donor at Rural King is no longer around,” said Heinrich.