LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — In the movies, Christmas spirit is always restored at the very end. Audiences rejoice when The Grinch’s heart grows three sizes, and when George Bailey realizes that it actually is “A Wonderful Life.”
And in D.C., the Salvation Army is rejoicing about the fact that community donations have more than replaced at least $10,000 in Red Kettle donations that were stolen from a community center over the weekend.
Ken Forsythe, spokesman for The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command, says the charitable organization since Sunday has received $10,000 from Thomas C. Goldstein, a partner at a D.C. law firm, $10,000 from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, $15,000 from Walmart (which just opened two stores in the District on Wednesday), $10,000 from Koons Automotive Group and $3,000 from a private anonymous donor.
That’s a total of $48,000. According to Forsythe, $10,000 will directly replace the stolen funds, an additional $10,000 will go to the Red Kettle Program and $15,000 has been earmarked for a program that matches donors with children from families that are unable to provide gifts and clothing during the holidays.
He does not yet know where the rest of the funds will be filtered.
Goldstein, who spoke with All News 99.1 Wednesday, lives in Chevy Chase, Md.
Despite never having donated to The Salvation Army before, “I had read online about the robbery and thought about the consequences for all the families that [Salvation Army workers] try and help in the city and around D.C. at the time of the holidays,” he said.
“I was just moved by the idea that a lot, lot, lot of people around the region have given money in the kettles… and they had lost the benefit of all of that,” he added. “And when a charity suffers a loss like this they’ve got a whole lot of plans for people they were planning on helping and suddenly they can’t.”
His next step was to call headquarters and tell them he would replace whatever had been stolen, a gesture Forsythe says the organization appreciates greatly.
“We are very grateful and we were overwhelmed with the quickness of the community’s response to what was an awful event,” he added. “These individuals did such a horrific thing, hurting or potentially hurting families that are in the most need right here in Washington, D.C.”
He hopes the charitable giving will continue through the holidays, as well.
“Before all of this happened, The Salvation Army was experiencing a nine percent drop in donations year-to-date,” he said.
Given the number of donations that have come in, “It seems like it’s going to be, ironically, a win for people in need,” Goldstein remarked.
The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command also serves Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County.
D.C. police have released a video of the suspects entering the Solomon G. Brown Corps Community Center in Southeast, and urge anyone with information regarding the case to call 202-727-9099. The robbery occurred around 5:30 a.m. Sunday.