Aside from the more than $100,000 gathered, Illawarra Salvos volunteers had an unexpected “donation” on the weekend – a diamond ring.
Volunteers participated in The Salvation Army’s nationwide Red Shield Appeal Doorknock on Saturday and Sunday.
Di North from West Wollongong Rotary Club said their club was collecting for the Red Shield Appeal at the Fred Finch Park, Berkeley netball courts on Saturday.
“About 3.40pm a friend of a lady who had given a donation came back to me to tell me that her friend thinks she accidentally put into our bucket, along with all her coins, her diamond ring,” Mrs North said.
“She was so upset… Unfortunately the buckets were locked so I was unable to open them to check.”
Salvation Army officials located the ring in one of the buckets later that afternoon and returned it to the woman the next day.
“It looked like it was worth a lot of money with all the diamonds too,” Mrs North said.
Amy Seymour from The Salvation Army, who co-ordinates their collecting in the Port Kembla zone, located and returned the ring.
Ms Seymour joked that it “was definitely the best donation we’ve ever received in our buckets”.
Ms Seymour said that the woman had placed it in the coin section of her purse while she played netball.
“She basically just emptied out her coin section, giving us lots of money... But in the process had deposited one of her rings in there as well. She was in tears (when it was returned).”
The woman in question, from Shell Cove, wished to remain anonymous.
“I am very grateful to the volunteers of The Salvation Army who took swift action in returning my ring,” she said. “I will be sure to find a better hiding spot next time.”
Karen Walker, community fundraising and public relations co-ordinator, Illawarra Regional Office of The Salvation Army said this year’s doorknock target for the Illawarra region was $150,000.
On Monday, Mrs Walker said they had thus far collated about $102,000.
“We still have a lot more to come in via tele-recruiting and those who collected later in the afternoon yesterday,” she said.
“Things are looking good for us to raise our goal of $150,000. The Illawarra community has once again been very generous to us, and we would like to say thank you to them for their ongoing support of the Salvos.”