UPDATED: Gold coins donated to the Salvation Army - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATED: Gold coins donated to the Salvation Army

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The Waterloo Salvation Army is working toward an ambitious goal this holiday season, raising 7$709,000.  The red kettle campaign accounts for 75 percent of the organization's budget for a full year.

Just about every year the Salvation Army is fortunate enough to receive a high-valued gold coin.  This year, it just so happens the Waterloo Salvation Army uncovered two of them within the same week.

It's the most wonderful time of year for many Salvation Army bell ringers, and it got a little more wonderful this week.  At the Ansborough Avenue Hy-Vee and Crossroads Gordmans, gold coins were dropped into the red kettle by generous donors.

"It's that added benefit, added blessing that we receive.  We meet the immediate needs of the holidays, and then whatever is left over goes into our budget for the upcoming year.  So if we don't raise it now, it's very difficult to raise it other times of the year," said Major Jose Tamayo with the Waterloo Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is working with an auction house to sell the gold coins, and bids are already exceeding $3500.  A few valuable silver coins have also been dropped into the buckets this holiday season.  They are small coins that make a big difference in helping the Salvation Army meet a growing need for services.

"Downsizing cutbacks, the economy itself people say is getting better, but we don't see it here.  We see an increase in requests and again, we can only help those as along as the dollars are there.  And we appreciate everybody's support in helping us because once we let the community know of the need, they usually come through for us," Tamayo said.

Sixty-three percent of this year's goal has been raised so far.  So with less than two weeks until Christmas, the Salvation Army needs your help to spread that Christmas cheer all year long.

The kindness of donors has even extended beyond what's dropped in the red kettle.  Someone generously bought one bell ringer a new winter coat.

A Canadian maple leaf gold coin was also donated at a red kettle in Maquoketa.  It's estimated to be worth $1800.

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