When an unidentified woman dropped a $10,000 check into a Salvation Army kettle in Menlo Park on Dec. 23, she may have set a record.
"This $10,000 check is the largest single donation to a red kettle that we can remember," said Salvation Army spokesman Max Solomon.
However, the money won't stay in the neighborhood. "Typically any money put into a kettle would stay local," Mr. Solomon said. "However, the Salvation Army takes donor intent very seriously, and in this specific case, the donor requested in the memo line for their money to go specifically towards the Monterey Corps."
The annual red kettle campaign runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. In 2010 the campaign netted $142 million nationally.
According to the Salvation Army, last year local kettles raised $52,000 and this year's preliminary count shows an increase of about 20 to 25 percent, not including the $10,000 check. The donations support the charity's food pantries and other service programs.
Why use a red kettle? Mr. Solomon said the fundraiser started in 1891 in San Francisco when Army Captain Joseph McFee decided to use something that resembled a crab pot to collect donations.