Metro

In an engaging trend, rings are landing in Salvation Army kettles

A woman dropped four rings into a red kettle in Northridge on Monday.
The Salvation Army
A woman dropped four rings into a red kettle in Northridge on Monday.

In what has become a Christmas tradition, people are donating wedding rings to the Salvation Army for the third straight year.

On Monday, a woman approached a bell ringer in front of a Walmart in Northbridge and asked if the red kettle could be opened. She had brought four rings in boxes and wanted to see if she could put them in the kettle, according to Drew Forster, a spokesman for The Salvation Army.

When the bell ringer said he could not open the kettle to do that, the woman removed the rings from their boxes and dropped them into the kettle.

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In Waltham Wednesday, an anonymous donor dropped a diamond ring into a kettle outside of a Market Basket. The ring is worth between $600 and $700, the Salvation Army said in a statement

The Salvation Army
The ring was dropped into a red kettle in Waltham on Wednesday.
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“These latest donations make it clearer than ever that generosity is contagious here in Massachusetts,” Gregory Hartshorn, general secretary of the Massachusetts Salvation Army, said in the statement. “These heartwarming gifts embody the generosity we see during the holiday season.”

The tradition began in 2014, when a widow placed her gold wedding band and a diamond engagement ring with a note in a red kettle outside of Boston’s North Station, The Salvation Army said. She said she was donating in honor of her late husband and asked that the rings be sold to help children in need during the holiday season.

She was later reunited with the rings after a donor gave $21,000 to The Salvation Army and asked for the jewelry to be returned to its owner.

As news of the generosity spread, the organization received 15 jewelry donations in a matter of weeks, raising more than $30,000. The trend continued in 2015, with donations that included rings and a Rolex watch.

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“What I think we are seeing is a marvelous gift that became a trend and has now become a Christmas tradition,” Hartshorn said. “These important donations will be a critical source of funding for our Salvation Army corps offices as they provide coats and warm meals and deliver vital services to cities and towns across the Commonwealth.”

This year’s donations came a few days after The Salvation Army completed an online auction of more than 60 jewelry items donated last year, raising close to $27,000, the organization said.

Olivia Quintana can be reached at olivia.quintana@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.