BILLERICA >> The Salvation Army says someone has placed a wedding band and a diamond engagement ring in one of its holiday red kettles in Massachusetts.

The charity says Monday night's anonymous donation in Billerica, Massachusetts, is reminiscent of a series of donations of expensive jewelry last winter.

Salvation Army officials said Tuesday they appraised the ring at $3,500, and called it "an incredible gift" that will help pay for food pantries, soup kitchens and other holiday outreach to the needy.

Last December, a widow's donation of her wedding and diamond engagement rings in Boston touched off a wave of similar giving that wound up raising more than $30,000.

The Salvation Army says it hopes to raise $3.4 million in this year's red kettle campaign in Massachusetts.