The mystery and excitement that come with opening holiday gifts are already spreading cheer at the Salvation Army.
St. Grand is back, dropping her (or his) first bundle of cash this season. In the anonymous donor's signature move, St. Grand placed 10 crisp $100 bills into a red kettle at Cub Foods in St. Anthony on Saturday.
Last year, the generous donor dropped $1,000 into each of 23 Salvation Army kettles around the Twin Cities. Annette Bauer, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, said they are thrilled to see St. Grand back in action. Volunteers had been speculating for weeks whether the cash bundles would reappear when the charity kicked off its giving season on Nov. 10.
"I told them that was a lot to ask," Bauer said.
But the wishful thinking paid off.
The Twin Cities Salvation Army has received big donations in the past, including from "Santa Claus," who for years has donated his Social Security payments to the charity. And now they'll watch for the mysterious drops to continue.
"Whoever this is probably gets a chuckle out of it," said Bauer, noting that they still have no idea who is making the big cash donations.
"We thought that maybe we would get some notice last year, maybe a note on Christmas Eve, but there was nothing. When it happened again on Saturday, it's a mystery all over again."
When these donations happen, the volunteers get fired up, wondering if their kettle will be next. Bauer said some volunteers even check in after their kettle has been counted to find out if they were visited by the jolly giver.
"A bundle of two $100 bills doesn't happen; to have 10 of them, that's craziness," Bauer said.
The organization is aiming to raise $9.8 million in the Twin Cities this year. It has raised $1.1 million so far, but every bill, no matter how large, will be necessary to help them meet their goal.
"You know in your own heart what you're able to give," Bauer said. "Every gift counts."
Alejandra Matos • 612-673-4028 Twitter: @amatos12