Salvation Army receives hidden gem as donation

Posted: 12/19/13 at 7:45 pm EST

PINECREST, Fla. (WSVN) -- A diamond ring was found inside one of the Salvation Army's kettles, and it's not the first time they've received such a gift.

The Salvation Army has seen four straight years of such generous donations, which included a gold nugget, a sapphire ring and cash distributed throughout several kettles. Finally, a gold diamond ring was donated, Wednesday.

Lee Sternberg received the out-of-the-ordinary donation. "Today, I got a ring, a diamond ring," he said.

"It's a beautiful gold and diamond ring," Salvation Army Maj. Linda Payton said. "It's our fourth year receiving from the same person."

It's a Christmas tradition that the folks at the Salvation Army said begins with a simple phone call. "Basically, she calls and says, 'You might want to check one of your red kettles at this location,'" Payton said.

Officials rushed over to the Publix in Pinecrest to swap out kettles and out came the ring and a note, just as every other year, detailing how thankful she is for the work the Salvation Army does all year round.

Donations have helped fund programs such as the Angel Tree during Christmas and all year round.

The appraisal of the ring put its worth at $3,500.

Officials hope to auction off the ring to get the most money possible and to help serve as many people as possible. "It makes my bell ringing worth it. Why? Because I get a little extra credit," Sternberg said.

"I know she wants to be anonymous," Payton said. "She knows that what comes here, stays here, and so it's like she wants to help this community. Thank you, thank you."

Officials only know that the donor is a woman, and she chooses to stay anonymous and has been the donor for the past four years.

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