During the holidays, you can’t miss them. They’re in front of many department stores and some local grocery stores – that familiar red kettle and dedicated volunteer ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. Their goal is for people to simply drop spare change in the kettle as they leave the department store. They never ask you for anything. But as you drop money in, they will give you a very polite, “Thank you.” They are both kind and unassuming. Most people wonder, just how much money can the Salvation Army possibly make in just extra change? We’re sure that every little bit helps. But if you were with the Salvation Army and standing in front of several stores in Pompano and Margate over the holidays, you didn’t just get loose change you got gold coins.

It seems that a very generous anonymous donor dropped gold American coins and gold Mexican pesos in the Salvation Army kettles at a Walmart in Margate and two other Walmart’s in Pompano Beach. The 1947 gold coins were estimated at $1400 apiece while the 2006 coin is valued at $350. All told, there were $5000 in gold coins dropped into the donation kettles.

According to the article, this is the first year that gold coins have been given in the history of collections in Broward County. As always, they will use the monies for shelter, caring for the homeless and feeding the hungry. Officials at this point are unsure whether it is one person or several. Whatever it is, people seem to be in the spirit of giving this year. And that giving is making a difference.

That’s what it’s about isn’t it? It doesn’t matter your religion, faith, culture or background. We know that if everyone one of us does what he/she can, we can make a positive difference in the life of another. At our law firm we are involved in “giving back” all year long and it is amazing. We wind up receiving more back than we will ever be able to give. We see the faces of the children we have impacted, the families we have helped and the communities we have served.

All of us together can make that difference. It doesn’t have to be dropping gold coins in the Salvation Army red kettle. It could be getting involved in a toy drive, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or perhaps getting a gift card to someone who needs a meal. As Tony Robbins recently said, “Giving is living.”  Just something to remember as we begin this new year.