During last year's holiday season, an anonymous donor left 23 envelopes containing $1,000 each at Salvation Army kettles across the Twin Cities.
When the bell-ringing season started on Nov. 10 of this year, some volunteers were abuzz with talk of whether the philanthropist they'd nicknamed "St. Grand" would return, said Salvation Army spokesperson Annette Bauer. She said it seemed unlikely.
"We just were happy saying, 'This is awesome, this is a mystery,'" Bauer said. "We never really thought this would happen again."
But on Saturday, a $1,000 donation appeared in the Salvation Army kettle at a Cub Foods store in St. Anthony. Another $1,000 donation was dropped into the kettle on Monday.
"Now with the second one at the same kettle, we're feeling like 'St. Grand' is back," Bauer said.
The Salvation Army raised about $10 million in the Twin Cities last year. That helped the group provide services like food and housing for about 288,000 people in the area.
This holiday season, the organization hopes to raise $9.8 million from donors large and small.
"People feel vested in that effort to help in their own community and to help those people who have nowhere else to turn," Bauer said. "It's a very Minnesotan thing to say, 'There are other people who need it worse than me.'"
Volunteers can sign up at the organization's website.