Donations create opportunities for Lawrence Salvation Army - KCTV5

Special donations create unique opportunities for Lawrence Salvation Army

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Gold coins and diamonds have been dropped into Missouri and Kansas Salvation Army kettles in recent years.

And add another mystery donation in Lawrence. But this one has a donor who really wants to make a difference.

In November, at the very beginning of this year's Red Kettle campaign, a "Secret Santa" dropped off three gold coins, one in person, two in kettles around Lawrence. Together, the coins are worth more than $5,000.

The Salvation Army of Douglas County hopes they'll bring even more.

"The donor, the one thing he asked was do something special, something fun," said Barry Watts with the Salvation Army.

For the last few weeks, they've been figuring out how to meet those requirements.

"We're going to auction them off, we have other items as well, just make it a fun event where people can learn about the Salvation Army and learn about these coins," Watts said.

Each coin is worth about $1,700. Watts says not knowing how much they'll bring in is part of the excitement of this Christmas season.

"We'll see, it's a chance to donate and invest at the same time," Watts said.

Every year they find a few odd donations in the kettles, but this year has been truly unique.

"When you find these gold coins it's exciting, look at the generosity, something interesting, something fun," Watts said.

This year's goal is to raise $125,000, and they're about halfway there. Watts is hoping the auction and fundraiser will help them beat their target.

"We found this year the need is more, we've been able to help hundreds of families, but we have had to say no to some families," Watts said.

The coins will go to the highest bidder in January.

This week a donor also dropped an 1880 liberty gold head $5 coin, which is worth several hundred dollars, and will be auctioned off too.

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