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$5,000 Found at Goodwill Returned to Rightful Owners

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Photo of South County Goodwill store located at 10570 Baptist Church Rd. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

Photo of South County Goodwill store located at 10570 Baptist Church Rd. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – MERS/Goodwill has found the rightful owner of the $5,000 in cash that was recently discussed. Just a few weeks ago, a donation processor at the Sunset Hills Goodwill found a stack of cash amongst a bag of donated items. The store employee acted honestly and immediately reported her findings to her supervisors.

“In an effort to better identify the owners, we reviewed surveillance video around the time that we knew the donation was made. The video showed 49 different people made a donation in that time frame,” said Dr. Lewis Chartock, President and CEO of MERS/Goodwill. “Out of the 12 claims MERS/Goodwill received, we were able to narrow down the owners though the individual details from those claims. Then we decided to meet with those that met the criteria of what was donated and how it was found.”

A woman and her husband from Affton had recently donated six trash bags of items. The woman, a second grade teacher, recently lost her 96 year old father and it was time to clean out items from his home. She was emptying out many drawers, just pouring the contents into a bag. Among the items donated were clothes, socks, towels, and the $5,000 in cash, which she hadn’t noticed.

“We had just written the acknowledgement of Dad’s passing, and I didn’t even want to clean out his drawers but we did…There were a number of bags that we had sitting in his room for a long time, and it was time to give them away,” said the anonymous donor. “We have always contributed to Goodwill, and just had that Wednesday that the story came out. I’m just so impressed that you would even announce what was found and give people a chance to reclaim it.”

The donor’s father, a World War II veteran, had a great life and career at a local defense mapping agency. He and his wife weren’t known to hide cash in the house, but in this case he had. When asked about how they heard about the cash found at Goodwill, the couple happened to be listening to the local news and heard, “it happened again,” and they just couldn’t believe it. She and her husband said in the future, or for others cleaning out a loved one’s possessions, it is a very personal thing and you should wait to go through the items, talk about the memories while going through them, and really take your time.

“This happens all the time at our donation centers,” said Chartock. “We encourage elderly parents who stash money around the house to let their children know where it is, and for those cleaning out closets to take their time going through items thoroughly. In this case, we are very happy to see that the money has gone to the appropriate owners.”

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