The Salvation Army, which serves the Fox Valley in Kane, Kendall and McHenry counties, raised more than $131,000 Saturday as part of its seventh annual Colonial Cafe Match Day.
The restaurant matched donations up to $30,000, according to a news release from The Salvation Army.
Donations came in the form of change, cash and a tradition – silver and gold coins.
One gold coin was dropped into a red kettle at Jewel-Osco in Cary, another was left at Joseph’s Marketplace in Crystal Lake, and a silver coin was dropped in at the McHenry Ace Hardware. The three are worth about $1,500 total. A gold coin, worth $1,250, also was left in the kettle outside the Starbucks in downtown Geneva.
McHenry County residents proudly claim to be the first to have started the gold coin tradition, said Capt. Carol Lewis of The Salvation Army McHenry County Corps.
“They say it happened for the first time in Crystal Lake about 30 years ago,” Lewis said.
The first coin was a South African Krugerrand, and some of the valuable currency still pops up every year.
“We have these mystery Christmas angels, and every year these coins appear,” said Lt. Betsy Clark of The Salvation Army Tri-City Corps. “We’re just so grateful for these people who, in a fun kind of magical way, help support what we’re doing.”
Clark said in a statement that the Match Day’s success was thanks to its generous donors and hardworking volunteers.
“We are greatly appreciative of all who participated,” Clark said.
The $30,000 match donation from Colonial Cafe will be divided among the four units, according to the pro-rated funds raised.
Donations still are needed through Dec. 23 to reach the red kettle campaign goals in each community, the release said. This year, local units face a shortfall because of a shorter bell-ringing season and not being able to ring Dec. 24 because it is a Sunday.
The Fox Valley Corps has yet to raise more than an average of 50 percent of these goals:
$200,000 – Tri-City Corps
$200,000 – Elgin Corps
$200,000 – Crystal Lake/McHenry County Corps
$250,000 – Aurora Corps
Visit www.registertoring.com or call a local corps to become a volunteer.
St. Charles (serving St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Campton Hills and Wayne) – 630-377-2769
Elgin (serving northern Kane County) – 847-741-2304
Aurora (serving southern Kane and Kendall counties) – 630-897-7265
Crystal Lake (serving McHenry County) – 815-455-2769