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Salvation Army hopes auction of gold coins will push it past goal

By Staff | Jan 10, 2011

The Salvation Army of Lee and Hendry counties raised a total of $535,000 in cash donations from its 2010 Red Kettle program, which is $15,000 short of the goal of $550,000.
Resource and Media Specialist Merrilu Bennett said the Salvation Army is hoping to raise the remainder of the money through the auction of nine 1976 South African Krugerrands later this month.
“In fact we are counting on income from all nine gold coins when we auction them off later this month to make us very close,” she said.
The last two of the gold coins were received from an anonymous donor through the mail, setting it a new record for the Salvation Army for the number of Krugerrands received.
The 1976 South African Krugerrands are said to be worth between $1,400 and $1,600. The two recent coins sent by mail were postmarked Dec. 30 and were addressed to Corps Maj. Tom Louden with a note that “urges people to lend a hand to others.” There was no return address or signature attached to the latest donation.
“We are so thankful and grateful not only to the people that donated these coins, but also by the generosity from the residents here in Southwest Florida,” Louden said in a prepared statement. “We were behind by $50,000 at one point during the campaign and to think that we may actually meet our goal is amazing. We are truly blessed to be a part of such a caring and supportive community.”
In 2004, a total of $277,000 was raised through the campaign, which is compared to $550,000 in 2009.
The money raised during the campaign helps fund the Salvation Army’s Christmas Cheer program, as well as 10 others that operate year-round. Bennett said those programs range from helping people battle drug and alcohol addiction to helping them get back on their feet and find employment.
Although the numbers are not official yet, the Salvation Army said several hundred additional families were served during the 2010 Christmas Cheer Distribution compared to 2009.