FREDERICK, MD - Almost a dozen shiny gifts turned up in Salvation Army kettles throughout the four-state area.
It's a common sight to see Salvation Army bell ringers out during the holiday, and the organization got a special surprise from a generous local santa.
"This year we donated a total of 10 gold coins to the Salvation Army," says Matt Lerner, owner of the Frederick Coin Exchange.
Lerner put a total of five $10 gold coins, worth a $1,000 each, inside kettles in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
This caught the Salvation Army in Charles Town by surprise.
"They were unsure if maybe someone was pulling a hoax on them, so they had to call and verify that the coin with a face value of $10 was actually worth $1,000 we had offered for it," Lerner says.
Lerner wrapped a $20 gold double eagle coin in a bill and then dropped it into a Salvation Army kettle. He didn't do it once in Frederick but five different times.
"We were very excited to receive five in one day. That doesn't happen very much. Other Salvation Armys around the country will get a gold coin, but I don't know of anybody else who's received five in one day," says Maj. Raymond Pruitt, with the Frederick Salvation Army.
Pruitt brought the coins to Lerner and got a $10,000 check.
"Every single gift is important," Pruitt says. "One's not more important than the other, but that $10,000 will help us go a long way in serving our community at Christmas and all year long."
"Hopefully as long as business is good, we'll keep on increasing our contributions to the Salvation Army because they certainly, especially these days, there's more demand for their services," Lerner says.
More people will be able to use the Salvation Army's services thanks to the generosity of Lerner, who's helping the community through his golden gifts.
The Frederick Coin Exchange isn't done helping out the Salvation Army. Beginning in January, customers can donate part of or their whole proceeds to the organization.
The Frederick Salvation Army also got its anonymous gold coin Wednesday.