A one-ounce solid gold bar was anonymously donated Monday to the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign. It was found among the bills and loose coins inside a kettle manned by a Salvation Army bell-ringer at the Walmart store on 1775 East Idaho Avenue in Ontario, Oregon. Salvation Army officials said the bar is valued at over $1,250.
“In recent years, the Salvation Army has received gold coins and jewelry in their Red Kettles; but a gold bar is little different,” said Major Robyn Bridgeo, Corps Officer of The Salvation Army, Caldwell Corps who discovered the gold.
Marked, stamped and in a protective case, the gold is a little larger than a domino, and about as heavy as a small padlock, he said.
“I've seen a lot of strange things dropped in the kettle over the years, but this is awesome!” Bridgeo exclaimed. “This generous gift is a true reflection of the hearts of the people here in Treasure Valley.”
“This is a rare occurrence for the Treasure Valley, I’ve been with Salvation Army for five years and have never seen a gold bar dropped in any of the kettles,” added Hillary Dater Betz, The Salvation Army’s Donor Relations Director for Southern Idaho.
The Salvation Army will secure the gold and get it appraised by a professional. “Judging by the gold value as of this date, one ounce of gold is valued at $1,258.10 as found on Ampex.com,” Bridgeo said.
There are only five days left in the Red Kettle campaign. The funds raised during the campaign stay in the community, and stretch into the new year -- where it continues providing service to help those in need, organization officials said.