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The secretive philanthropist the Salvation Army dubs St. Grand is spreading holiday cheer again this year, dropping $1,600 in a north metro red kettle on Thursday.

This is the 10th year the anonymous donor has contributed to the Twin Cities campaign. The donor gave more than $12,000 last year, totaling more than $139,700 to the Salvation Army since 2011, according to the organization.

“We may never know the identity of St. Grand, but we want him or her to know how grateful we are, as these gifts will directly help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a statement from Dan Jennings, commander of the Northern Division, which includes Minnesota and North Dakota.

The Salvation Army said the donor bundles cash in the same way and always gives new $100 bills.

The extra generosity comes at a time when the Salvation Army fears that giving will drop with fewer shoppers at retail stores during the pandemic. The organization launched its annual holiday campaign earlier this year and is encouraging more online giving in hopes of raising $10 million by Dec. 31, $3 million of which usually comes from red kettles.

The Salvation Army, which has about 300 kettles across the metro area, relies on year-end giving to bring in about two-thirds of its annual revenue. Last year, the Salvation Army fell short of its fundraising goal by about $500,000.

To respond to changing giving trends, the Salvation Army has added pay options via Apple Pay or Google Pay to its kettles, along with QR codes that donors can scan with their phone to get a link. The Salvation Army also faces a volunteer shortage this year. To donate or volunteer, go to salvationarmynorth.org.

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141