Donor stuffs $1,000 bill into Salvation Army kettle in W. Va.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Salvation Army Major Richard Hathorn knew when and where it would happen, but he still doesn't know who slipped the $1,000 bill into one of the charity's Christmas kettles.

Each Christmas since 1978, someone has covertly stuffed one of the big bills into a kettle in this northern West Virginia university city.

This year, Hathorn says, the donor alerted the Salvation Army that the tradition would continue with a deposit between 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Wal-Mart at University Town Center.

During the appointed period, Hathorn carefully scanned the faces of people dropping money into the kettle, but he didn't spot anyone with a bill bearing the likeness of President Grover Cleveland.

He found it later, wrapped inside a $1 bill.

Coin worth more than $1,000 given to bell ringer

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A platinum coin estimated to be worth more than $1,000 couldn't fit in a Salvation Army kettle, so the donor handed it over to the bell ringer.

An unidentified person donated the coin Friday outside a Belk department store.

'The man who donated the coin tried to put it in the kettle, but it wouldn't fit,' Salvation Army spokeswoman Yvonne Warthen said. 'So he just handed it to the bell ringer. It just shows how honest our bell ringers are.'

The coin's face value is $100, but the Salvation Army had it appraised, and initial estimates put its value at about $1,300. The coin is from 2006 and is stamped with an image of the Statue of Liberty.

Archdiocese turns to online collection baskets

CINCINNATI - No cash for the collection basket at church? No problem.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati has made online giving an option for its 230 parishes and 110 parochial and diocesan schools in its 19-county region.

'It's a way to make things a little easier for people and for them to be a little more regular in their giving to the church,' Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk said.

The new way, he said, won't replace the old: the collection basket during Mass.

With the online donation option, the diocese joined a growing group of churches nationwide that are using technology and the Internet to make weekly giving easier.

Churches say high-tech donations are a response to changes in society, with fewer people carrying cash and using credit and ATM cards and the Internet to make transactions.

- From wire reports