Salvation Army strikes gold again at Wasilla Fred Meyer

Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 11:30 AM AKST
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - The Wasilla Fred Meyer may just have the golden touch. A local resident dropped off a South African Krugerrand in the Salvation Army red kettle on Dec. 7.

According to Matanuska-Susitna Borough Salvation Army Major Kevin Bottjen, it’s the second straight year someone has donated the gold coin at the store, and the fourth straight year someone donated a Krugerrand around the Mat-Su.

“There’s a donor in Wasilla that likes to bless us abundantly,” Bottjen said.

South Africa began production of Krugerrands in 1967. The most recent check found the value of a Krugerrand to be nearly $1,900. That’s money the Salvation Army can use to help families over the holidays, especially now.

“The first year I was here it was actually the second year that it happened,” Bottjen said. “I was excited because that’s the first time in my 25 years plus of doing Christmas kettles that I’ve gotten a gold coin.”

Members of the Wasilla Sunrise Rotary Club once again do their part to help collect donations at Fred Meyer. It’s something they say they look forward to every year.

“It’s a good thing to do. It’s important to give back to the community and help the Salvation Army out,” said Jerry Moses.

According to Bottjen, more volunteers are needed to ring bells and monitor the red kettles.

“Normally I have 10-12 workers our a day during Christmas season. Right now I’m doing two to three workers,” Bottjen said .

The shortage is not just limited to the Mat-Su, or even Alaska. Salvation Army chapters are experiencing the same thing around the country. The Salvation Army even pays some bell ringers, but that doesn’t always work.

“In this town we have 15 locations, eight hours a day for five to six days a week.,” Bottjen said. “It’s really hard to get volunteers to cover all those locations.”

The Salvation Army hopes to see more large donations in its red kettles, possibly even another golden one, to help needy families enjoy the holidays.

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