A widow's recent donation of her wedding band and engagement ring to a Boston Salvation Army kettle caused a sensation this holiday season -- and it also seems to have sparked a trend.

After the donation of the rings, another bereaved bride made a cash donation of an astounding $21,000 -- ten times the jewels' value -- so the set could be returned to the owner without taking away from the charity's coffers.

Finally, following her fellow widows' generosity, a mother who recently located to the Olde Towne from Australia, donated a diamond cross pendent to another kettle. Attached was a note that read:

I needed to find somewhere for us, particularly my son, to be happy again. We had visited Boston several times and always loved it here. Since relocating, people have been so warm, friendly, kind and accommodating to us, and I have been trying to think of a way to give back to the people of Boston... [The story about the rings] inspired me, and I have enclosed this diamond cross, which is symbolic of Christmas, and ask that you sell it and use the money to help those less fortunate this Christmas.

And the charity is duly thankful. Boston Salvation Army Capt. Myron Smith says:

There's something special happening here... We're blessed and overwhelmed with this latest donation. It's great to see Bostonians inspired by acts of generosity during this holiday season.