Minnesota couple drops $500,000 check into Salvation Army kettle

FILE - Donald Baca, right, drops money into a Salvation Army red kettle as bell ringer Mark Pearson looks on in downtown Seattle Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008. (AP Photo)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP/ABC) — Christmas just got a lot brighter for the less fortunate of Minnesota.

Salvation Army officials in Minnesota and North Dakota say a couple dropped a $500,000 check into a red kettle Saturday outside a Cub Foods in suburban Minneapolis.

“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 said in the statement.

The couple said their donation was also meant to honor one of their fathers, who served in World War I and appreciated the donuts and coffee that the Salvation Army Donut Girls brought to soldiers.

Spokeswoman Annette Bauer says it’s the biggest check ever in the Minneapolis area and likely the biggest ever in the two states.

The Twin Cities Salvation Army in Minnesota received a check for $500,000 on Saturday from a couple who wishes to remain anonymous. Note: This image was altered by the source to obscure identifying details. (Photo: Twin Cities Salvation Army via ABC News)
The Twin Cities Salvation Army in Minnesota received a check for $500,000 on Saturday from a couple who wishes to remain anonymous. Note: This image was altered by the source to obscure identifying details. (Photo: Twin Cities Salvation Army via ABC News)

Bauer says the couple has a history of donations and prefers to remain anonymous. She said they alerted Salvation Army officials that the check was coming and asked them to open the kettle and remove the check before volunteers who count donations could see their names.

Bauer called it “an astonishing gift” at a time when the division was running about a half-million dollars behind the same point last year.

The Salvation Army has set a goal of raising $11.6 million during the Christmas campaign this year, and to date they have raised about $2.2 million, the Salvation Army said.

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