"This is by far the single largest donation we've had in our kettle all year."
Gold Coin Salvation Army
Credit: Bloomberg / Contributor/Getty Images

Good things come in small packages—just ask Joice Huston. She was volunteering for The Salvation Army outside a Walmart in Tega Cay, South Carolina, when an anonymous do-gooder dropped a very special coin into her red kettle. Volunteers were tallying up their donations later that day when they discovered it: a solid gold Krugerrand coin worth more than $1,200 and a short note.

"Thank you to all who make a difference in the lives of others," the note said. "Please publicize this anonymous gift so others may be inspired to give generously."

The Salvation Army's Rebecca Mcgee told local news station Fox 46 WJZY that the organization is stunned by the gesture.

"This is by far the single largest donation we've had in our kettle all year," Mcgee told the station. "And in my experience as a corporal officer, the largest I've ever seen. This represents about what we'd make in four days of ringing a kettle bell at a single store—it's an incredible gift and we are so grateful."

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It was especially meaningful for Huston, who just a year ago was homeless herself, living in her car in the same Walmart parking lot. She credits The Salvation Army with helping her get back on her feet.

"They blessed me and I returned the favor," Huston told WJZY. "The donations—it doesn't matter if it's a gold coin or a 50 dollar bill or a penny. If it comes from the heart, it's blessed. And if it doesn't come from the heart, it's not real," she added. "And this came from the heart—it had to."