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Anonymous Donor Leaves Diamond Ring In Billerica Salvation Army Kettle

BILLERICA (CBS) – 'Tis the season of giving, and the Salvation Army has gotten a whopper of a gift. Someone dropped a diamond ring into one of their red kettles. And that generosity is going to help a lot of people have a happier holiday.

It was just a regular day of bell ringing at the Market Basket in Billerica, the Salvation Army collecting donations to fund its work with the poor. But when they brought the kettle to the Lowell area headquarters, "I was quite shocked actually," says Capt. David Childs. "I paused for a moment and I said, I found a ring!"

It was a diamond engagement ring, given anonymously. "We had it appraised and they said the replacement value for this would be about $3500," says Capt. Childs.

Last December there was a rash of jewelry donations placed in the red kettles. First, wedding rings in Boston, a cross in Brookline, a pendant in Fitchburg and more rings in Weymouth. But this is the first time the Lowell area Salvation Army has received such a gift. "It's pretty heartwarming. To know that somebody would give something of this value, something personal like that of themselves," says Capt. Childs.

The money raised from the ring and other efforts will go to help the needy during the holidays. "We're going to help over 600 families with food, the children in those families will get toys and clothes, just to make their holiday time special," Capt. Child says.

The ring will be auctioned off on Saturday. But it's really the many smaller donations in the red kettles that allow the Salvation Army to do its work. In the Lowell area they're hoping to raise $160,000 with the kettles this season.

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