A mysterious woman's Salvation Army donation of two wedding rings wrapped in a letter about true love has led to a contest looking to find a deserving couple who will win the rings and a wedding.
A mother and daughter who are Salvation Army employees were working the kettle drive at a Walmart in Biloxi, Miss., Nov. 29 when an older woman approached the red bucket with something in her hand, according to ABC News Biloxi affiliate WLOX-TV.
"She stuffed the paper into the kettle, working hard because the paper was so big," daughter Jessica Riddle told WLOX. "I asked if she wanted help, but she said no. That she wanted to do it on her own."
The women were curious to know what had been dropped in the bucket. As the kettles were counted later that evening, they found the tightly folded and taped paper, according to WLOX.
"I unwrapped the paper and we all stared in disbelief," Riddle said. "Inside was two rings taped to the paper and a long note. One looked like an engagement ring and the other a wedding band. We couldn't believe it."
The beginning of the note read: "Love can last a lifetime - and it should … Perhaps there is a young man who wishes to marry, but being of modest income cannot afford a big diamond. Perhaps The Salvation Army knows of a Christian couple wishing to make a commitment - for life - to each other. If so, please give these rings to that special young man for his bride."
The Salvation Army is planning to fulfill the secret Santa's wish. The contest is open to "any deserving couple who would like a wedding they couldn't otherwise afford," the organization said on its form explaining the contest.
The winners will receive not only the rings, but also a wedding in a chapel, complete with a reception afterwards. The Salvation Army is looking for sponsors to help with food, flowers, decorations and other wedding needs.
The deadline for entry to the contest is midnight Jan. 15. The winning couple will be announced the same month and will receive a Valentine's Day dinner at a local restaurant for the proposal, as per the secret Santa's wishes. The wedding will then be planned and occur "shortly thereafter," the Salvation Army said.
A person or couple wishing to enter the contest can complete an entry form online or send a letter to Kettle Rings Giveaway, 2019 22nd St., Gulfport, Miss., 39501, explaining the hardships they have faced and why they believe they deserve the rings and a wedding.