The ceramic vessel is elaborately hand-painted in an Asian style, featuring blossoms, mockingbirds, vases and trees, and has a cherry wood bottom. Its top is affixed with a tar-like seal, which led workers to conclude that someone's ashes are inside.
"It was strange because it is obviously not something that happens every day. It just came in the back with a bunch of other donations," Helping Hands director Bill Crawford said.
There is no inscription to indicate whose remains are inside. The urn was among clothes, furniture and other items that were left a couple of months ago at the charity, which helps families in need.
"It is really pretty, but after we found out, we all just kind of stared at it for three days," worker Angela Garber said.
"We are just hoping someone would come in and say, 'Hey, we have made a mistake,'" Crawford said. "This is somebody's loved one, and we just hope that this was done unintentionally."
This is the second time someone has left an urn at Helping Hands. Seven years ago, an urn was left and not claimed. The ashes were given to a local funeral home for safekeeping.
Information from: Benton County Daily Record, http://www.nwanews.com//dailyrecord/