Coin worth $1,200 left in Salvation Army red kettle by good Samaritan

A donation has left one local Salvation Army stunned. An ounce of pure gold was dropped into a red kettle at a local Walmart.

"Everything we do is funded by the change people put in our red kettles," said The Salvation Army's Rebecca Mcgee.

During the red kettle campaign, you never know what kind of donation you might find.

"As we were opening our kettles and preparing the deposit, we discovered this coin," said Mcgee. An ounce of pure gold was donated anonymously with a note.

"Thank you to all who make a difference in the lives of others," the note said.  "Please publicize this anonymous gift so others may be inspired to give generously."

The coin is worth just more than $1,200.

"This is by far the single largest donation we've had in our kettle all year," said Mcgee.  "And in my experience as a corporal officer, the largest I've ever seen.  This represents about what we'd make in four days of ringing a kettle bell at a single store-- it's an incredible gift and we are so grateful."

The anonymous donation was dropped into Joice Huston's red kettle at a Tega Cay Walmart.

"It was just -- wow," she said.

A year ago, she was homeless herself-- living in her car in the same Walmart parking lot.

"You never expect to be the one who gets the lucky silver dollar or gold coin," she said.  "You just never imagine it could be you."

Having used the Salvation Army herself, the gift means even more.

"They blessed me and I returned the favor," said Huston.  "The donations-- it doesn't matter if it's a gold coin or a 50 dollar bill or a penny.  If it comes from the heart, it's blessed."

It takes a heart of gold, to make a difference this big.

"And if it doesn't come from the heart, it's not real," said Huston.  “And this came from the heart—it had to.”