The Salvation Army conducts its Red Kettle campaign every year, but in 2014 more than change and bills got tucked into the cans: Across the country, diamond rings were left among the offerings.
In Carmel, Calif., an unidentified man left a diamond ring with a note, reports KSBW: “This is my late wife Edith’s engagement ring. I have kept it hidden these past 11 years but it is not benefiting anyone or her memory. In the name of Edith May Sullivan Hannes, Merry Christmas.” The ring was appraised at $3,500.
A ring valued at $1,400 was dropped in a kettle in Florissant, Mo. The ring was wrapped in an appraisal letter with “for the feast of Stephen” written on the back,” reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The most remarkable story comes from the Boston area. In early December, a widow in Cambridge, Mass., left a diamond ring and wedding band in a kettle with a note that she hoped the ring would be sold to buy toys for needy children. The ring was valued at $1,850. After the donation made the news, another widow offered to donate $21,000 to the Salvation Army in exchange for the rings to be returned to their owner. The Salvation Army accepted the donation, and the two women met privately.
“I have chills,” Michael Harper, a Salvation Army officer, said in a statement to Boston.com. “Both of these women are heroes to me, to all of us at the Salvation Army. I count it a privilege to have witnessed everything that’s occurred today. It is the true meaning of Christmas.”