MODESTO, CA - While living, Elinor Sauerwein was known by friends for not spending very much money.
"She did buy carpet for her house one year, which took an act of God," said Capt. Michael Baugh of the Salvation Army.
"The last year she was there, she just got cable, and said 'this is wonderful: I can watch the History Channel the rest of my life,'" said Eric Collison, a neighbor.
It's after her death that Sauerwein's spending increased, and dramatically.
Just before Christmas, the Modesto Salvation Army received a check for more than $1.7 million. It's the money Sauerwein and her late husband made through years of investments.
Before her death, Sauerwein researched which agencies did the best job of serving clients, and she decided to help the Salvation Army.
"Five years from now, she won't know it, she will have touched close to 100,000 people because of that generosity," said Baugh.
The Salvation Army typically brings in about $3 million annually in cash. With her single donation, Sauerwein covers more than half that amount.
The Salvation Army offers assistance through its food bank, dining room, and homeless shelter.