The anonymous donors recalled a time as a young couple when they relied on discarded food from a local grocery store

By Char Adams
Updated December 01, 2015 04:00 PM
Credit: The Salvation Army

The Twin Cities Salvation Army in Minnesota is celebrating its largest, single donation from a couple who say they have faced hard times themselves.

Amid the dozens of shoppers coming and going from the Cub Foods in Rosemount on Saturday, one couple dropped a $500,000 check into one of the organization’s emblematic red kettles, the Salvation Army’s Northern Division said in a statement.

“We are simply stunned and honored to have received such a generous gift,” Twin Cities commander Major Jeff Strickler said. “This is a true blessing and it could not come at a better time for the Salvation Army and the people we serve.”

Volunteers from the Rosemount Fire Department were manning the kettle at the time, but didn’t realize the large donation had been made until several hours later, the organization’s Northern Division spokeswoman Julie Borgen told NBC News.

The donation quickly became the Twin Cities organization’s largest ever, surpassing the previous record of $25,000.

Borgen told NBC that the donation made the organization’s goal of raising $11.6 million a real possibility.

The organization has since reached out to the couple, but the pair wishes to remain anonymous. However, they said that they hoped the generous gift would prompt others to be generous, according to the statement.

They also wanted to honor one of their fathers who they say served in World War I and was always grateful to the organization’s “Donut Lassies” – who brought donuts and coffee to soldiers.

The couple recalled a time when they often relied on discarded food from a grocery store as a young couple when they had little money.

“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 told the organization.