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A 'time to take care of others': Mystery donors drop $500K into MN red kettle

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One Salvation Army bell-ringer in the Twin Cities has a story they'll be telling their kids, grandkids, and their kids, too.

The charity is reporting someone slipped a check worth a half-million dollars into a red kettle outside the Cub Foods in Rosemount this past weekend.

That's the largest single donation ever made to a red kettle in the Twin Cities, according to a Monday news release. It dwarfs the previous record of $25,000.

Though the Minnesota couple who wrote the check wishes to remain anonymous, they did explain to the Salvation Army some of the reasons behind their generosity.

The release says one of the pair's fathers started a family tradition of supporting the Salvation Army after encountering the group's "Donut Lassies" in World War I. The female volunteers brought soldiers in the trenches coffee and donuts as a show of appreciation.

Another reason: At one time, the couple were in need of help themselves and had to live off discarded food from grocery stores, and now want to share their prosperity with those who might need it.

“You get to a point in life where it’s time to take care of others, the way you were taken care of,” the donors are quoted as saying.

The couple told the charity they hope their gift inspires others to give "as generously as they can, too."

“We are simply stunned and honored to have received such a generous gift,” said Twin Cities Salvation Army Major Jeff Strickler. “This is a true blessing and it could not come at a better time for The Salvation Army and the people we serve.”

'Saint Grand' is back

Meanwhile, a mysterious person known to the Salvation Army only as "Saint Grand" has again donated more than $1,000 in cash to two Twin Cities red kettles.

The organization says the "saint" dropped $1,100 in crisp $100 bills on Friday in Roseville. It's the fifth year in a row the anonymous donor has contributed large amounts of cash to the fundraising effort.

Despite the big donations, the army is still about $9 million shy of its Christmas fundraising goal. So far, they've pulled in $2.2 million; the group is shooting for $11.6 million.

“We invite everyone to please give what they can,” Strickler in the Monday release. “Every dollar counts, and we only have a month left to meet our goal.”

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