Kind Hearts Brighten Season

Builder Shares Millions
A builder who became a multi-millionaire after bagging a £105m Euromillions jackpot ($139 million USD) has told his customers he will finish their jobs for free – as an early Christmas present. Steve Thomson, from Selsey, West Sussex, England promised to go back to work in a bid to ‘stay normal’ after becoming the ninth-biggest UK winner in the history of the European Lottery last month.

Coin Crusader Strikes Again
For the sixth year in a row, the anonymous “Coin Crusader” has generously dropped two rare gold coins into a Salvation Army red kettle in Broward County, Fla. The coins, worth approximately $3,000, were wrapped in one dollar bills and anonymously dropped into the Salvation’s Army’s red kettle at a Walmart Neighborhood Market. All proceeds support the Salvation Army’s feeding, shelter, and social service programs.

Lucky Waitress Garners Huge Tip
A group of friends got together Sunday in Paterson, NJ, to eat, enjoy one another’s company and fill the pocket of one lucky waitress. Local activist Zellie Thomas and nearly a dozen friends finished eating at an IHOP restaurant in the city and were about to leave, but not before giving a $1,200 tip. “She was still looking at it as we were paying the bill. We gave her the money and she was starting to count, like, ‘Wait, wait: You guys gave me too much money,’ ” Thomas said. “ ‘You were supposed to give me this amount.’ And we were like, ‘No, that’s all for you. That’s your tip.’ ”

The Bank with a Heart
Dundee Bank in Omaha has an annual Christmastime tradition of handing out cash to total strangers. Employees of the two-branch bank have hit the streets with envelopes containing two crisp $20 bills and some instructions. Perfect strangers are asked to keep $20 and give away $20 to the person or cause of their choice. Scrooges might think this a marketing ploy, though Tiny Tims might remind them that people who get cash off the street might have bigger needs than a new place to bank, if banking at all is in the cards. Rather, it’s a way to spread joy. Joy to the bank staffers who get the privilege of handing out the envelopes and experiencing the shock and wonder that comes from the recipient. More joy when the recipient gets to treat someone else. “People have cried, have screamed. Have chased after them and hugged them,” said Mandy Mellott, a spokeswoman for the bank. “It’s a really cool way for our employees to interact in the community.”

Big One for the Kettle
Among the crumpled bills and pocket change, a Salvation Army bell ringer in Indiana recently found a shiny gold coin in his red kettle. But not just any gold coin. This coin, a 1915 100 Corona Austrian gold coin, was valued at $1,500. And the name of the man who collected it outside of a Noblesville Walgreens is just as smile-worthy: James Bond.

Secret Santa Spreads Joy
For passengers getting on the bus in Milwaukee recently, it felt like boarding a bus to crazy town. “I said what? This is a dream or something,” one passenger said.But it wasn’t a dream. The drivers were real elves working for the real Secret Santa. Secret Santa is an anonymous, wealthy businessman who every year travels the country giving out $100, $200, sometimes $300 to random strangers. He usually finds his targets in thrift stores.
But this year, Secret Santa recruited some elves from the Milwaukee County Transit System to do at least some of his giving. He chose the Milwaukee drivers because they’re always doing kind deeds, whether it’s stopping the bus to fetch a pair of lost children’s shoes, helping a turtle cross the street or rescuing a child out wandering alone. There is a real culture of kindness, which Secret Santa said makes them the perfect accomplice.

How About a $10 Million Bonus
The very generous chairman of a Maryland real estate company has given his 198 employees the ultimate holiday gift: A $10 million bonus to share. When the employees at St. John Properties attended their annual holiday party, many expected food, drinks and good company. Each also received an envelope. You’re all participating in a bonus based on the number of years (of service) of $10 million,” company founder and chairman Edward St. John announced. The workers were stunned to find out that on average, they each would be going home $50,000 richer. The highest bonus awarded was $270,000.

Donations Large & Small Help

It’s a Christmas tradition across Canada and the United States. Volunteers ring the bells beside Salvation Army Kettles at stores and malls to raise funds to help the needy.

Most of the donations are small, a handful of change or a few dollars. But every year there are heart-warming stories of more generous contributions dropped into the kettles. Scratch-off lottery tickets are commonly dropped into the kettles, usually these are worth $10 or $20.

Sometimes a generous donor drops in a gold coin, worth well more than its face value.

salvation-army-kettlesThis year, someone dropped a winning $1,000 lottery ticket into a Salvation Army kettle at an Erie, Pennsylvania, Walmart store.

“The Christmas season often brings out the best in people,” said Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko. “It’s heartwarming to hear stories such as this one, and I applaud this anonymous winner for turning their good fortune into an act of charity that will benefit the community.”

Leslie Walter of the Salvation Army in Erie said scratch-off donations are nothing new, but one this sizeable is almost unheard of. “We’ve received donations of winning instant tickets in the past, but they’re usually in an amount of $10 or $20 – never something of this size,” said Walter. “We are very grateful for this generous donation, which will help us to serve people and families in need.”

Last year, a Minnesota couple made a $500,000 donation to the Salvation Army, saying they had endured hard times and wanted to help others facing dark days during the holiday season. The donors, who wished to remain anonymous, dropped the half-a-million-dollar check into one of the charity’s red kettles, setting a Minneapolis record for a single donation to the Salvation Army.

Whatever you can spare will be appreciated and put to good use in your community. Help the Salvation Army help your community. Give generously.

Dino’s Helping with Toy Drive




No child should go without during the holidays.

That’s why Dino’s Storage has teamed up with the Salvation Army and KMTV 3 News to collect toys for needy children.

Drop off new unwrapped toy donations at the KMTV Studio or any Omaha-area Dino’s Storage location through Dec. 12.



Your donation will help provide needy children toys this Christmas.

And, it will bring some huge smiles as well!

Make Saturday a Red Kettle Day!

Omaha’s Salvation Army has scheduled a 5K Run/Walk for 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at Zorinsky Lake. Join in the fun for a good cause. The run helps stock pantry shelves during a time of overwhelming need.

RedKettleLogoNo pre-registration is required, but if you want to save time the day of the run, you can get more information at or send an e-mail to for additional participation information.

There are some great prizes, including an Apple iPad mini 16GB, Creighton Men’s and Women’s season basketball tickets, Men’s season baseball tickets and more. Dino’s Storage will be handing out water bottles to the first 300 finishers.

The entry fee is just 10 non-perishable food items or $10 for The Salvation Army pantry. The run location is at the 156th & F Street entrance to Zorinsky Lake.