Secret Santa surprises Salvation Army volunteer in North Windham

December 13, 2016, 5:35 pm

Tina Detelj - WTNH Reporter

NORTH WINDHAM, Conn. (WTNH) — Usually when people donate to the Salvation Army they fold up their bills so they fit in the slot on the top of red kettle and even with doing that one bell ringer could tell something was a little bit different with a recent donation.


The volunteers are thankful for every donation they get. But on Saturday one of them also got quite a surprise at the North Windham Walmart.

“I was looking what he was putting in,” says volunteer Deb DeJesus of Willimantic. “I was like really?”

DeJesus who talked to News 8 on the phone thought she saw three one hundred dollar bills being put in her kettle. That’s what she told Envoy Philip Hostetler who coordinates the volunteers in the Willimantic area. She was a little off.


“As I’m counting I’m like one, two, three, four, five, until I got to 14 and I was like wow fourteen one hundred dollar bills in one bucket it’s just fantastic,” says Hostetler.

“My jaw dropped,” says DeJesus. “I almost started crying. I was proud of myself actually.”

Word quickly spread about this Secret Santa and a lot of people had heard about the generous donation.

“I did I did that’s very cool,” says Nellie Barfield of Coventry.

The only description DeJesus could remember about this mystery man was that he may have been in his late fifties.

“They’ll hide it in an envelope they’ll want to be anonymous so they’ll put it in when there’s a whole swarm of people so you don’t know who put it in,” says Myron Lank who is also volunteer with the Salvation Army. He was ringing the bell outside of that Walmart today.


We asked Barfield if people are wondering who this person is. “Oh of course how could you not be? But we’ll never know,” he says.

Krystal Santos isn’t curious at all. “I’m not if.. I just see it as a blessing that’s it,” she says.

And so do the volunteers who know the money will help a lot of people.

“Extremely grateful to him or her and I wouldn’t mind if they did it again,” says Hostetler with a laugh.

The bell ringers will be out collecting donations until December 24th so you never know what else they may find in their kettles.

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