MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — 127 years of Red Kettle campaigning was punctuated by the news every Salvation Army volunteer in Morgantown was waiting for: the secret donor struck again.

For 45 years, a secret donor has dropped a $1,000 bill in one of the many Red Kettle locations. This year, the mysterious philanthropist chose the Patteson Drive Kroger location.

Lt. Allen Adkins with the Morgantown Salvation Army confirmed the bill was dropped off sometime Friday, about 24 hours before the deadline.

“I know the volunteers and the kettle workers, they get pretty excited,” Adkins said. “You know they think, ‘Well it didn’t happen yesterday so it’s got to happen today.’ You know everyone wants it to hit in their kettle.”

Donations were down this year, though. Adkins said, though the count is not final, they were down seven percent as of Dec. 20 from the same time last year.

“The Red Kettle drive is our largest fundraiser,” Adkins said. “The Salvation Army, we kind of live or die by that.”

He said the Red Kettle Drive is well known, but he said what’s less well known is exactly what it provides for the organization and the communities it serves.

“It helps us with the Christmas work that we do, the food, the clothing, the toys, things like that for kids,” he said. ” But really it also funds social services into the next year.”

This year’s holiday programs included toy drives in Monongalia, Preston, and Marion counties.

The final donation numbers were not readily available.

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