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‘Secret Santa’ drops $20K in area Salvation Army kettles

SalvatiArmy Bellringer Inger Balderas collects donations Tuesday December 4 2012 next kettle thonce aganetted $1700 gold cofew days ago front

Salvation Army Bellringer Inger Balderas collects donations on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 next to the kettle that once again netted a $1,700 gold coin a few days ago in front of Casey's Foods in Naperville. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 17, 2013 6:29AM

The Aurora Salvation Army has a Secret Santa this year.

So far, The Salvation Army has received four checks from a single anonymous donor of $5,000 each in two separate area kettles for a total of $20,000.

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, made his donations on Nov. 29 and Dec. 4. He hopes that the gesture will inspire more individuals to donate to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, according to officials with The Salvation Army.

The first two $5,000 checks were found in a red kettle at the Target at 1188 W. Boughton Road in Bolingbrook just south of Naperville on Nov. 29.

The second two checks were dropped at Trader Joe’s at 44 W. Gartner Road in Naperville on Dec. 4.

In addition to the cumulative donation of $20,000, the same donor has announced that he will match all donations, up to $5,000, that are made to the red kettle at the Casey’s Foods at 124 Gartner Road in Naperville through Christmas Eve. That is the same kettle that received a gold South African Krugerrand valued at approximately $1,700 on Nov. 30.

“The Salvation Army is thankful for our very own Secret Santa and very excited about this red kettle match,” said Capt. Antonio Romero, corps officer at The Salvation Army Aurora Corps Community Center, which serves much of the Naperville area. “These donations will bring the gift of Christmas joy to so many people in need in our community. We’re truly blessed that our community is so generous and giving.”

This year’s Red Kettle campaign goal is to raise $12.5 million. The familiar kettles were on the street and in shopping areas beginning Nov. 16, and will be removed Dec. 24. But the Red Kettle campaign will continue through Jan. 31.

Individuals or corporations wishing to make their own Red Kettle matching pledge, or a Gold Coin Challenge matching pledge, or to donate a gold coin, can call 773-205-3252 or email

For those wishing to donate at their computer, a virtual Red Kettle is available at And for the first time, The Salvation Army is receiving donations through texting. To donate $10, text SHIELD to the number 41444.

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