Lake County Salvation Army receives first gold coin of season in Libertyville

The anonymous donation of a valuable gold coin in a Salvation Army red kettle in Libertyville has been warmly received and is hoped to be an inspiring example of the human spirit in a time of growing need.

"Every year we get at least one," said Major Dan Faundez of The Salvation Army Waukegan Corps serving Lake County. "It's still that great unknown of who's doing it. We're deeply grateful."

The South African ½ Krugerrand coin is still being appraised, but its value is estimated between $500 and more than $1,000, Faundez said.

"We don't know if it's one single person or a group," he said of the donor, who visited the Jewel-Osco at 1300 S. Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville sometime between noon and 6 p.m. last Thursday.

The donation comes as The Salvation Army seeks to provide more assistance to recent immigrants in need of local housing.

It also comes at a time when the Salvation Army's annual red kettle donation drive contends with an increasingly cashless society, Faundez added.

"This is a tremendous help," he said. "It's a huge boost to our overall goal of $145,000."

That amount is hoped to see The Salvation Army through its needs in Lake County through 2024. But this year's financial resources already ran dry in late summer, Faundez said.

Faundez hopes others will be inspired by the example of the Krugerrand donor to give to an agency in which 93 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to local services.

He believes the donor's deliberate anonymity contributes to the sense that anyone and everyone can help.

"There's a mystique about this that paints a picture about the human spirit," Faundez said.

He and fellow officers and volunteers of The Salvation Army have seen firsthand how generosity can transform a hellish situation for both adults and children to a more secure and stable life.

"We love what we do and ask others to partner with us," Faundez said.

The Salvation Army accepts online donations as well, and even the red kettles are trying out innovations to cater to those who don't often carry cash, he added.

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