By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An anonymous donor pledges to match any donation up to $1,000 to help replace a stolen Salvation Army red kettle.

An unidentified man stole the kettle from a volunteer stationed outside of a Randallstown Walmart on Dec. 6 at about 5 p.m.

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The kettle contained nearly $600 in cash.

“Our anonymous donor from Virginia wants to contribute a matching gift and challenges anyone willing to donate to the stolen kettle cash,” The Salvation Army Development Director Eric Mueck said. “If someone donates, let’s say, $10.00 or $25.00. Then he will also match that.”

Shortly after the theft, the donor from Virginia contacted Mueck with the contribution offer.

“He was shaken up that someone would be so cruel during Christmas time. That someone would try to steal from kids and families who need help,” said Mueck.

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The organization said it’s raising funds to help feed the homeless, provide assistance for rent and utilities assistance, and supply afterschool resources for a Boys and Girls club in West Baltimore.

Lieutenant Antonio Willis of the Salvation Army said donations are down this year.

“Collectively across the central Maryland command, we are about $40,000 behind where we were this time last year,” he said.

With only two weeks left of the bell ringing season, the organization said its hopeful for a miracle. Willis said the donor brings him joy.

“That is why we do what we do to ensure that no one goes without this Christmas season, so it brings the true joy to my heart that there are still donors who will step up,” he said. “We’re not going to let this deter us from trying to do our very best for those who really need it.”

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CBS Baltimore Staff