BOSTON – The Salvation Army found an unusual surprise inside one of its red donation kettles: a diamond engagement ring given by a widow in honor of her late husband.
The charity said Monday the anonymous benefactor placed the diamond ring — valued at $1,850 — and her wedding band in one of the kettles placed outside Boston's North Station last week.
It says the rings were accompanied by a note in which the woman said she hoped they would be sold and the money used to buy toys for needy children. She said her husband always had a giving spirit — especially at Christmastime.
"To honor his memory, I donate this ring. I'm hoping there's someone out there who made lots of money this year and will buy the ring for 10 times its worth. After all, there's no price on love or the sentimental value of this ring. But money will help the kids. May everyone have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!" her note read.
Salvation Army Major David Davis said Monday the "incredible" donation warmed the hearts of bell-ringers and other volunteers.
"We're so moved and incredibly grateful to the generous individual who made such a loving and kind donation," Davis said. "This heartwarming gift boosts all of our staff, bell-ringers and volunteers."
The Salvation Army says the red kettles date to 1891, when Salvation Army Capt. Joseph McFee wanted to help feed the needy in San Francisco. The containers were modeled after those McFee saw at ferry landings in Liverpool England, where people would sit with small kettles and collect spare change from travelers.