The holiday season in Naperville has gotten a little brighter -- and more shiny -- thanks to an anonymous donor who dropped a 1-ounce gold South African Krugerrand into a Salvation Army kettle outside a grocery store.
Salvation Army officials said the coin, valued at roughly $1,300, was placed in the kettle on Friday outside Casey's Foods at the corner of Washington Street and Gartner Road.
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Donations of gold coins have become something of a tradition in the Chicago area, officials said. Similar coins already have been found this holiday season in kettles in Grayslake, Round Lake Beach, Waukegan and Lake Zurich.
"The money raised from these red kettles goes directly to help fund the programs and services right here in our communities, so this coin will go a long way toward helping our friends and neighbors in need," said Aurora Corps Capt. Antonio Romero in a written statement.
Officials say the Salvation Army hopes to raise $13 million this year as part of its Red Kettle Campaign and has garnered more than $3.3 million so far. Because of the lateness of Thanksgiving, officials say donations are running about 8 percent behind last year; although online donations are running far ahead.
The Salvation Army's Metropolitan Division serves more than 137,000 people during the holidays, and delivers more than 30,000 food baskets, 56,000 pieces of clothing and more than 153,000 toys.