41 gold coins found in Frederick Salvation Army donation kettles

41 gold coins found in Frederick Salvation Army donation kettles

Lt. Chris Raymer, who is with the Salvation Army in Frederick, holds 41 gold coins that were found in two bell ringers’ red kettles Friday. Matt Lerner, owner of the Frederick Coin Exchange, was responsible for the gold donation. The coins are valued at about $130 each.

Like every holiday season, local Salvation Army volunteers have been deployed around Frederick, ringing bells and collecting donations tossed into their iconic red kettles.

The Salvation Army in Frederick was behind in its fundraising goal this year, until a Christmas surprise appeared in two of the kettles.

Salvation Army officers counting donations collected at the Wal-Mart on Monocacy Boulevard found a gold coin in one of their kettles, according to Lt. Chris Raymer.

 They then opened another kettle and found 40 more gold coins.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness,’” Raymer said.

Matt Lerner, owner of the Frederick Coin Exchange, was responsible for the gold donation.

The Salvation Army in Frederick has a long history of receiving gold coins in their red kettles. For years, an anonymous donor dropped a gold coin in one of the kettles each holiday season.

Lerner, who opened the Frederick Coin Exchange in 2009, started donating gold coins in 2010 to the Salvation Army. Ever since, Lerner has donated at least one coin to the season fundraising campaign. In 2011, the business owner donated $9,000 worth of South African gold krugerrand coins.

gold coin worth $1,255 in Reno Salvation Army kettle

Gold coin worth $1,255 dropped in Reno Salvation Army kettle

RENO — The Salvation Army confirmed that a 1979 Krugerrand gold coin was dropped in a kettle at a Walmart in Reno this week.

The one-ounce gold coin is worth $1,255, said Allen Rowe, president of Northern Nevada Coin. The coin is not particularly rare but it is literally worth its weight in gold. The Krugerrand is gold bullion. In the 1970s, mints produced millions of them, he said.

Last Christmas season, another gold 1979 Krugerrand coin was put into the kettle. And in 2015, two rare coins were each wrapped in $100 bills, each valued at about $550.

“I’m shocked and pleased to have this blessing in our red kettle.” Major Charles Fowler, Washoe County Salvation Army Reno corps coordinator, said in a news release. “We find unusual items in our kettles from time to time. Most have no value.”

Some of those things are pocket lint, screws, washers, game tokens, foreign coins, Alcoholics Anonymous chips, batteries, angels, pills, gum wrappers, staples, earrings, women’s rings, bracelets, a Navy souvenir coin and keys.

“This one, however, is a tremendous boost to the bell ringing campaign,” according to Fowler. “Whoever this donor is, I just want to say thanks for the helping us and this community.”

The Red Kettle campaign is currently down 13% compared with the income raised last Christmas season, according to the Salvation Army. The Reno Corps set a $285,000 goal for this year.

Donations collected in the Salvation Army kettles help support local programs like the Christmas assistance program, year-round food assistance and other social services and youth programs.

Salvation Army ensures kids in need don't go without for the holidays

Salvation Army ensures kids in need don’t go without for the holidays

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — Thousands of Hampton Roads kids in need are getting some special gifts. The Salvation Army is making sure kids don’t go without this holiday season. Thursday kicked off their Christmas Depot distribution in Virginia Beach.

“Just amazing that people that don’t know you and what you’re going through, and just have the big heart to buy for your kids. It’s just great,” said Christine Cain.

The Salvation Army told 13NewsNow more than 8,000 kids are getting gifts. They get everything from clothes collected through Angel Tree, to toys and food. Not only are families grateful, so are volunteers.

“It’s just gratifying to see everybody come through and the happiness and joy that we can bring.” said one volunteer.

The distribution center will also be open Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 18-20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and again from 1 to 4 p.m.

Central Virginia Salvation Army

Central Virginia Salvation Army Distributes Thousands of Toys


You could feel the Christmas spirit at the Central Virginia Salvation Army Distribution Center on Monday as hundreds of families collected toys and clothing for the holiday season.

It was all through the Salvation Army Christmas distribution and Angel Tree program.

Renee Jackson shopped for her three boys – it was her second year picking up Christmas presents through the Salvation Army program.

“I love this place, it’s good,” Jackson said. “Just for the extra help. Sometimes bills get in the way and stuff like that and you can’t always get them everything they need, so this place paves the way for you to get a little extra stuff for the kids who need it.”

The Salvation Army has collected for over 5,000 children in the Richmond region. Those children will receive things such as coats, clothing, stockings, toys and some will even get a bike.

“Really the idea was to allow families not to worry about the stresses to financially provide and to go out and purchase clothing and toys for their children that would put them further behind in paying their bills perhaps,” said Donald Dohmann, area commander for the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army isn’t just collecting items like toys and clothes for children, they also collected items for senior citizens in the area.

“We have about 800 of those that will be receiving gifts come Thursday,” Dohmann said.

The distribution will go from through Thursday, Dec. 14 at at  6807 Midlothian Turnpike.

Lodi Salvation Army

Lodi Salvation Army graduates 20th culinary arts class in 10 years

Friends and family gathered at the Lodi Salvation Army’s Hope Harbor Center on Tuesday evening to congratulate their loved ones who have completed the Salvation Army’s four-month culinary arts program, marking the 20th class in the program’s 10 years of existence.

Snacking on bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds and miniature beef Wellingtons, consisting of morsels of filet mignon topped with pureed mushrooms inside of a flaky puff pastry, the graduates and their families mingle with alumni from the class, past and future employers of some of the graduates as well as the program’s teacher, Chef Barry Crall.

Before enrolling in the class, prospective students must first graduate from the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Sacramento, according to Crall. Once they have completed that program, the students become eligible for the 16-week culinary arts training, which Crall finds deeply rewarding.

“I love seeing the light come on and watching them get a job, so they don’t have to fall back on what they did in the past. It’s an opportunity to change their lives,” Crall said.

The program also provides the students with opportunities to serve others while improving their own lives, such as donating meals to those affected by fires in Butte, Jackson, Napa and Yuba over the years, according to Crall.

“We served 750 meals twice a day in Jackson, breakfast and dinner, cooked here in this kitchen,” Crall said.

Since the program’s inception, 132 students have graduated, with 92 percent of them finding work at restaurants such as Wine and Roses, Coco’s, Richmaid and more. Joe Yaskovic is one such graduate, who completed the program’s sixth class in November 2010 after being referred by ARC Sacramento, where he now works as the kitchen supervisor.

“I loved the actual book learning, getting to know all the technical aspects of cooking. It was great having such an experienced instructor who knows all the ins and outs of restaurants, Barry Crall is an integral part of my success at ARC. I worked in franchise restaurants for several years before I came here, and now I’m the kitchen supervisor at Arc in Sacramento, in charge of feeding 90 men in rehabilitation. If you have a passion for it, follow it, it’s very rewarding and the passion will pay off,” Yaskovic said.

Raymond Luna, one of the four most recent graduates, enjoyed every aspect of the program, learning culinary techniques and terminology, different types of cuts, plate design and more. Although he has not found a job yet, he is currently exploring multiple options. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to succeed, and offered a bit of advice to those considering enrolling in the class.

“Stay focused, be clear in your decisions on what you want to do. Enjoy the experience and treat it as an opportunity for life learning. You only get out what you put into it. Thank you to the Salvation Army for the opportunity they gave me and the encouragement they provided, and of course thank God. It’s a whole new direction in life, so of course I want to thank God for the opportunity,” Luna said.

Brian McRavin, another graduate, learned about the program after graduating from ARC in Paris, Calif., and enjoyed learning proper cooking techniques, as he said he has always had a passion for cooking.

“I make a mean burger, I love cooking steak, smoked chicken, that sort of thing. One of my favorite dishes is cheese pork medallions, which I made for dinner tonight. If you have the passion for it, if you want to do it, then do it. Don’t hesitate,” McRavin said.

As Hope Harbor’s kitchen staff put the final touches on dinner, Maj. Mark Thielenhaus explained that similar culinary arts classes have begun in Napa and Sacramento, before Pam Kludt, who volunteers with both fundraising and the program’s steering committee, approached the podium to address the guests.

“We are so pleased to have another graduation this evening. It’s unbelievable for us on the committee to think that we’ve had this program for 10 years, it’s amazing,” Kludt said.

After Kludt’s introduction and prayer of invocation, Salvation Army volunteer Patricia Fehling offered her own words of congratulations and encouragement to the graduates.

“It’s such an exciting time for us. You’d think that after 10 years and 20 classes, we might be a little ho-hum about this, but, believe me, it’s never ho-hum around here, and that’s because of our students. I really congratulate every one of you. I’ve been with you, I’ve seen your struggles, I’ve seen your successes. My hear is so full of joy for each of you, and I know that your hearts are full of joy as well,” Fehling said.

Following the meal of cheese pork medallions with a mustard horseradish sauce, fingerling potatoes and oven-roasted butternut squash, Thielenhaus began the graduation ceremony. He thanked God for the success of the program and its students, before reflecting upon how often food and fellowship are referenced together in the Bible, from the first Passover to the Last Supper, as well as how often the Salvation Army eats during its meetings.

“My mother-in-law has a saying about the Salvation Army: ‘We’re not meeting if we’re not eating.’ Some of you may know from one of our songs, ‘With sword and shield, we take the field,’ well, sometimes with fork and shield we take the field,” Thielenhaus said.

Thielenhaus then read a passage from John 6, in which Jesus fed approximately 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, sharing lessons he learned form the Bible passage with the graduates such as using the resources available to them, sharing what they have with others and making relationships a priority before helping Crall present graduation certificates and medals with red and gold ribbon to the four graduates.

Kludt then concluded the ceremony by thanking the City of Lodi for its generosity, as well as the Cortopassi Family Foundation for donating $250 to each graduate, as well as $1,000 to the program for each person that graduates.

Secret Santa Donates $10,000 in Red Kettle

Secret Santa Donates $10,000 in Salvation Army Red Kettle

Some Secret Santa just dropped $10,000 in cash into a Salvation Army Red Kettle outside a Hollywood neighborhood grocery store.

The Salvation Army officers said Thursday the donation was made sometime Wednesday, Dec. 6, at a kettle outside the Fred Meyer store at 3030 N.E. Weidler St. The donation was in $100 bills and is the largest cash contribution in a single Red Kettle bucket in the Portland area.

“Whoever did this knows the good that will come of it,” said Salvation Army Capt. Marcos Marquez, officer of The Salvation Army’s Moore Street Corps. “And while we do not know who put the money in the kettle, since the money was all in cash, they should know that we are very grateful to have received such a generous donation.”

The Salvation Army’s annual six-week fundraiser campaign usually provides enough money to fund about 40 percent of the its services. The religious organization said it had raised a little more than 30 percent of its $750,000 goal.

Group officers said that it was not unusual to find a single $100 in a kettle or two during the campaign. In the past few years, The Salvation Army has reported getting gold coins as donations. But $10,000 in cash in one kettle is unusual, according to the organization.

Toy Convoy

Toy Convoy benefits local children in need

The Toy Convoy is an initiative taken on by WHSV and The Salvation Army to provide thousands of children with various items, including bicycles, winter coats, food and toys for the holidays.

2017 will mark the 21st year that the annual Toy Convoy will benefit the children living in Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Elkton, Dayton and Staunton.

Ashley Gordon-Becker, director of development for The Salvation Army in Harrisonburg, was born and raised in the local community. She emphasizes how the success of the Toy Convoy comes from the teamwork displayed by the individuals and businesses in the area.

“We are a very giving and philanthropic community,” Gordon-Becker said. “Seeing all of these businesses and members of the community come together to provide Christmas for the children that would not have Christmas otherwise — it’s heartwarming.”

Mountain Valley Burger King, Harrisonburg Auto Mall and Walmart are also joining forces this year to collect toys, clothes and monetary donations for local children and their families.

For over two decades, the surrounding communities of the Valley have come together to benefit the low-income families who don’t have the necessary resources to provide their children with a holiday meal or presents for underneath the Christmas tree.

In order to provide enough food for each family, The Salvation Army needed to receive 1,300 turkeys and chickens from the local community. They almost met their goal by being able to feed 600 families for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

“Seeing those families come in, knowing that they would not have had a meal if it wasn’t for the generosity of the community, hits hard, especially because most of us are very fortunate,” Gordon-Becker said.

The Toy Convoy requires months of planning and collaboration from WHSV and the local communities. Tina Wood, the operations manager at WHSV, has been a part of this tradition ever since it began 21 years ago.

“I love the way the community comes together,” Wood said. “The most memorable thing is that you sit there and you watch this trailer fill up with toys — it just makes it all worthwhile.”

During the first week in October, families apply to become a part of The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree by providing proof of income, expenses and number of people living in the household. The Angel Tree allows the children from those families to put five wishes on the tree. These wishes could be anything from a board game or favorite toy to a pair of shoes or winter scarf.

Most of the time, all five wishes are provided, but sometimes holes are left on the tree where a child’s wish wasn’t granted. With Toy Convoy, those holes are filled by the donations collected across the Valley and given out on distribution day. This year, families can pick up these toys Dec. 15 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds.

Kim Wentz, regional resource development director for The Salvation Army, has been involved with distribution day for the past 17 years. She continues to be amazed at the surprising generosity she experiences by locals who aren’t familiar with the program.

“I was in Waynesboro two years ago when this gentleman walked up and asked what we were doing,” Wentz said. “He came back and had purchased five bicycles — it gives you chills.”

Thousands of children benefit and depend on the Toy Convoy each year. Alone, there are 1,401 children from Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. There are also 348 children from Staunton, 650 from Augusta County and 356 from Waynesboro who’ll now have presents to open on Christmas morning.

“It allows them to be just like everyone else,” Wood said. “I believe that every child wants to believe in Santa Claus, and this gives them the opportunity to continue to believe.”

Gold Coin

Gold coin worth more than $1,300 Dropped in Red Kettle

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJLA) – Bells will be ringing and George Hairston will be the joyful man to wish you happy holidays at the Flower Hill Giant Food Store in Gaithersburg.

It’s what he did last week when he noticed something different.

“That day, I noticed this man with a hospital mask on his face. And he had this big thing,” said Hairston, who has been a ringing the bell at the red kettles for the Salvation Army for three years. “And it took time for him to put it in there. You can see the hole is not that big,” he said.

A card was wrapped around a gold coin.

“It says ‘Glory to God in the highest and on Earth, peace, goodwill towards men’,” said Capt. Karl Dahlin with the Salvation Army.

So far, the man in the medical mask is anonymous.

“We’ll be using all of these funds to support our programs that are with emergency assistance programs,” said Dahlin.

The coin says $50 on it, but the real value is in the weight. It’s one ounce of pure gold and it could be worth more than $1,300.

The Salvation Army will hold onto it until after Christmas to see if the donor comes forward. If not, they will cash in the value.

It’s happened before, but this one comes at a good time.

“The statistics say we’re down 13% percent over the same day last year,” said Dahlin.

People dropping in donations are learning about the generosity and hoping others are inspired.

“When someone does something like this, it tells people even the little things matter,” said Luis Orozco, a donor.

Bell Ringer Once Homeless Gives Back to Salvation Army

Salvation Army bell ringer gives back after being homeless

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – It’s the signature sound that the holidays are in full swing: “Thank you, God bless you, Merry Christmas.”

The Salvation Army Bell ringers are out, and one in particular knows how important it is to give back.

Less than a year ago, Glen Dias was homeless with no home and no job.

Salvation Army worker A.C. Corpus remembers Glen walking into the men’s shelter in Norfolk.

“He came into the shelter needing our assistance with housing and other needs and we by the grace of God were able to help him with those needs and look where he is now,” Corpus said.

Now, he his own place to live and he has a job as a bell ringer.  Even though he gets paid to be here, he still volunteers for the Salvation Army. He even volunteered this Thanksgiving serving hot meals at the shelter.

“Glen! Hi, I’m Beverly from Channel 3. How’s business today? Picking up a little bit,” said News 3’s Beverly Kidd.

Even though he saw our camera, Glen still had no idea why we were really here at the Walmart in Virginia Beach.

“You are doing such an awesome job, and News 3 would like to give you a People Taking Action award. Congratulations!” said Kidd.

Fighting back tears, Glen shared how grateful he is to the Salvation Army, specifically the shelter director A.C., who pushed him to stick with the program.

“And sometimes, believe me, I wanted to give up,” Glen said.

“We have heard all about you and apparently you are one of the special bell ringers and everyone likes to have you in front of their store,” said Kidd.  “So our partner Southern Bank would like to give you a $300 gift card! Thank you.”

Even though he makes just above minimum wage and has to stand for long hours at a time in all kinds of weather, Glen said he loves his job.

“I love it. If it was for a thousand days, I’d do it. Really? It’s for the kids,” he said.

What he’s learned about people is that they are inherently kind.

“If it’s cold, the older people come up and give me hot chocolate and it means a lot sometimes, because I might not have it and some people really care and I appreciate it,” he said.  Full Article…

Salvation Army Hampton Roads

Urgent help needed for Hampton Roads Salvation Army Angel Tree

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — The Salvation Army is facing a big shortfall in its Angel Tree program after a group dropped off about 100 gift tags without the presents that were supposed to accompany the tags.

The Angel Tree program serves thousands of families on the Southside each year. People normally take tags from trees that are placed across the area, purchase the clothing items listed on the tags, then return the tags with the items so the Salvation Army can distribute them.

The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command is letting people know about the issue in an effort to make sure that more than one hundred children will not go without gifts this Christmas.

A spokeswoman for the Salvation Army said there may be an additional 100 tags that people took but did not return with clothing items.

The organization specifically is in need of clothing donations (shoes, jackets, outfits, etc.) of all sizes, but are in most desperate need of boys and girls sizes 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 (as well as shoes for ages 8-11)

Donations can be brought to the old Christmas Depot at 1205 Fordham Drive in Virginia Beach.

Salvation Army members are scheduled to begin distributing the gifts next week, so they will accept donations until Saturday at noon.

If anyone is unable to bring physical donations, monetary donations are also accepted on the Salvation Army’s website.

The command’s main number is (757) 543.8100.