PORTLAND — For the fifth consecutive year, an anonymous do-gooder has dropped a valuable gold coin into a downtown Portland Salvation Army kettle.
This year, on Saturday, the Salvation Army discovered an American Gold Eagle — worth an estimated $1,260 — in one of the non-profit's red kettles outside Macy's at Southwest Sixth Avenue and Morrison Street.
The Oregonian reported on another gold coin — a South African Krugerrand worth an estimated $1,600 — that an anonymous person dropped into a downtown Portland Macy's kettle in 2011.
The Salvation Army has pondered whether the donor has been someone different each of the past five years, or whether the same person has been donating. Perhaps it's a coin collector with a big heart?
"We have no idea if it's the same person, but we think it is because it's always a gold coin in one of the downtown kettles," said Teresa Steinmetz, a spokeswoman for the Portland area Salvation Army.
On Dec. 17, the organization got another boost from an anonymous person who dropped three Krugerrands in a kettle at the Beaverton Town Square Fred Meyer. The coins are worth an estimated $4,275.
Across the country, others have discreetly slipped valuable coins into red kettles. According to The Associated Press, Kruggerands have been donated this year in Indiana, North Dakota and Iowa.
Steinmetz said the golden bounty couldn't come at a better time because the Salvation Army is about $300,000 below its fundraising goal with just two days left until Christmas.
Last year, the Portland area kettle campaign took in $823,000. This year, the organization set a goal of raising $855,000 to support programs that already have been budgeted. But as of Monday, the kettle campaign had raised about $550,000.
Those who want to contribute to the campaign can do so at any kettle, or visit www.onlineredkettle.org/emergencykettlepdx to make a donation.