People who donate to Goodwill have been known to forget the odd $20 or even $100 in a pocket or cookie jar. But Sheryl Huneke, an employee at Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries, found thousands of apparently overlooked dollars in a donated item on Wednesday.

People who donate to Goodwill have been known to forget the odd $20 or even $100 in a pocket or cookie jar.

But Sheryl Huneke, an employee at Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries, found thousands of apparently overlooked dollars in a donated item on Wednesday.

Officials at the local Goodwill won’t say what the money was in. They also aren’t being specific as to how much money Huneke found or the denominations of the bills — that information could help identify its owner — but they said it totaled in the five figures.

“I’ve found money before,” said Huneke, who is from Lincoln, “but not like (Wednesday).”

The money just kept coming as she sorted through a bin containing donations that had been picked up and brought into the Goodwill warehouse.

As specified by Goodwill regulations, Huneke immediately reported her find to her supervisor, Kathy Goebel. Employees are required to sign a contract stating that if they find something of value among the donations, they are not allowed to keep it.

Not that Huneke would have.

“I wasn’t raised that way,” she says.

Goebel and Huneke took the money to Sharon Durbin, president of the Springfield Goodwill, where the money was counted and secured.

They were stunned by how much had been found. Huneke said she hopes she never finds that much money in a donation again.

“All day after that happened,” she says, “I was nervous and shaky.”

Durbin contacted Goodwill International about the cash, seeking guidance on how to handle it.
Now, it’s up to the owner to claim it. Whoever lost it has 90 days to prove it is theirs or it becomes Goodwill’s money.

“There was no paper or any other identification in the donation that would help us find the person,” Durbin says.

Whoever lost the money should contact Durbin at (217) 789-0400. She is going to ask the Springfield police for help handling the claims.

In order to claim the money, the owner will have to be able to say how much there is, what denominations it is in and in what kind of donation it was found.

Durbin says Goodwill officials are sure the donation came from Springfield, and she is almost certain she knows what part of town the donation came from. All of those qualifiers will be used to help Goodwill get the money returned to its owner.

“I can’t imagine waking up and finding it was gone,” says Durbin.

Dave Bakke can be reached at (217) 788-1541 or dave.bakke@sj-r.com.