On Dec. 8, while counting the coins from the Salvation Army's kettles, Janice Veney, director of Carroll County Salvation Army Service Center, received a pleasant surprise.
A 1893 Liberty $10 gold piece was wrapped inside a note in a small plastic bag in a kettle located outside of the Walmart in Mount Airy.
"At first I was like, 'Is this real?'" Veney said, of the coin. "The note said to contact the Frederick Coin Exchange and we would receive a $1,000 check."
This is the first year Frederick Coin Exchange has dropped a gold coin into a Carroll County kettle, though the Frederick-based store has dropped gold coins in various kettles around the Frederick and Montgomery areas for four years now.
"We looked at where our customers came from and decided to give to those communities," said Matt Lerner, owner of Frederick Coin Exchange. "The Salvation Army has done great things by giving back and helping communities... that help grow our business."
Over the years, gold coins have popped up in the familiar red kettles around the nation, said Major Barry Corbitt of the Salvation Army.
"It was the first time I've ever seen one," Corbitt said of the coin. "It was exciting. We'll gladly make it a tradition if it happens again."
Money collected from the kettles is used to purchase gifts and food for the needy. This year, the Salvation Army Baltimore Area Command hopes to raise $600,000, though that will likely not happen, Corbitt said.
"We're probably going to be somewhat short of that," Corbitt said, of the proposed goal. "We're a little bit down. With only two-and-a-half days of kettles left, and I don't think the weather will corporate with us tomorrow."
Last year, Carroll County kettles raised $77,000, Veney said.
The kettles may be in that range this year, Veney said.
"As far as my county, I don't know yet where we stand as of last year," Veney said. "We may be in that ball park or not too far off."
Whatever people can give is appreciated, she added.
"I am grateful that we have all of these supporters," Veney said.