A golden Christmas tradition is alive and well in Fort Collins.
For the 21st year, someone dropped a gold Krugerrand coin in a local Salvation Army collection kettle. The donation came Monday outside the Hobby Lobby store at 4106 S. College Ave.
The South African coin is worth about $1,500. It will be appraised and sold, with the proceeds going to the Red Kettle Campaign, said Rachael Fowler, spokesperson for the Salvation Army.
The gold coin was found in the red kettle of longtime volunteer bell ringer Robert Thompson.
This is the third year in a row a Krugerrand has landed in Thompson’s kettle. The unknown donor must like him, Fowler said.
“He’s our best bell ringer in Fort Collins,” she said. “He’s always very happy and bright and wishes everyone a Merry Christmas.”
Donations to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Drive are down this year in Fort Collins and across Colorado. The organization hopes to raise an additional $600,000 by Christmas Eve to meet its $2.2 million statewide goal.
Collections are down about $50,000 in Fort Collins compared with last year, Fowler said. The local Salvation Army raised $150,000 through the kettle drive in 2018.
Fewer bell ringers are around town this year because of a shortage of volunteers. Still, ringers can be found outside most King Soopers, Safeway and Walmart stores, as well as J.C. Penney, Hobby Lobby and Macy’s.
The red kettle collection season was shortened this year by the lateness of Thanksgiving, Fowler said. Less than a week remains for the annual donation drive.
Donations raised in Fort Collins stay in the community to support local programs.
“We know how generous Fort Collins is already,” she said. “We’re hopeful that we will make up the difference.”
Kevin Duggan is a columnist and reporter.
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