Hay River fire survivor raises alarm about fake fundraising

·2 min read
A photo from Kelly Lafferty's GoFundMe page. Lafferty's Hay River home was destroyed and her family displaced by a fire on March 6. (Kelly Lafferty/GoFundMe - image credit)
A photo from Kelly Lafferty's GoFundMe page. Lafferty's Hay River home was destroyed and her family displaced by a fire on March 6. (Kelly Lafferty/GoFundMe - image credit)

A family in Hay River, N.W.T., who lost their home in a fire earlier this month is sounding the alarm about fake fundraising being done in their name.

Kelly Lafferty lost most of her possessions in a house fire on March 6. Since then, the community has rallied to raise roughly $4,000 for new clothes and temporary accommodation for Lafferty and her four children.

But recently, Lafferty says, she's been hearing reports of a woman who says she's raising money on their behalf, but not actually delivering the donations.

"We didn't ask her to do anything like that for us," she said. "I don't think that's right at all."

Lafferty did benefit from two previous fundraisers, which have both now ended. One, organized by Hay River's Kindness in Motion, ended "a week or two ago," she said.

The other, a 50/50 raffle organized by a friend, has ended as well.

Now, the family has set up a GoFundMe page for additional fundraising. Lafferty says that's the only thing going right now.

She's also lodged an official complaint with the RCMP, who she says are currently investigating.

The RCMP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lafferty's home was uninsured and many of her family's possessions were lost in the fire, caused by an unattended candle in a child's bedroom. She told CBC that the house itself would need to be demolished as it could not be restored.

She said her family is still adjusting to life after the fire. They're staying with extended family in town, and are grateful for the support they've received so far, she said.

She hopes the people who donated to the fraudulent fundraiser will be able to get their money back.

"People who are out there working for their hard-earned money, donate their money to something like this, and it doesn't even go to the person? It's not right," she said.

"Heartbreaking that someone would do something like that to someone."