RICHARDSON, Texas – For three years now, Guadalupe Reesor has made a living by digging through donations.
"My job is to sort the clothes," she explained from the Resale Shop, owned and operated by Jewish Family Service.
Reesor checks clothes for stains and holes but never expected what she would discover in a donated coat.
"I checked the pocket here, and this was full of money," said Reesor while holding a black pea coat which held the cash.
It was stacked neatly inside four bank envelopes. When Reesor found it, she immediately alerted her boss.
"It was just so much that she could hardly hold on to it. I looked at it and thought 'that can't be real,'" said Assistant Manager Kristina Russell.
"I get a call from Kristina, who's the assistant manager, saying something crazy happened and she doesn't know what to do," Cathy Barker, chief operating officer at Jewish Family Service, said.
"We still couldn't believe it. $17,000," Russell said.
There were 50 and 100 dollar bills in each of the four envelopes.
"It was something any non-profit organization could definitely use. But that wasn't the right thing to do,” Barker said.
Fortunately, one of those bank envelopes had some writing on it.
Barker said she matched it to a name in the donor database and tracked down the person – a 78-year-old widow who asked to only be identified as Sheri.
The coat belonged to her late husband who died in January. Sheri said she was surprised to learn there was money tucked inside of it and has no idea why he put it there.
But after burying him, bills began piling up and financially she was growing concerned.
"Really concerned, so I didn't even reconcile my checking account this month,” she told WFAA. “I didn't even want to know what I'm going to be doing next year and what I'll have to give up."
She won't have to now. JFS gave her a check for every dollar it found – $17,050.
After her interview, while sorting through another pile, Reesor pulled more cash out of another pocket.
"It’s $15," she said, unfolding a 10 and five -- then turning it in to the Resale Shop.
Later that day, the widow rewarded Reesor with $1,000 for her honesty.