DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WFIE) – After the December 10, 2021 tornadoes, one Dawson Springs church opened its doors as a relief center.
The church building became a hub for donations. People affected by the storms could come and take the items they needed.
The church’s outreach coordinator says what started as a good way to help, quickly got taken advantage of.
Now, a sign hangs on the door of Beulah Crossroads Baptist Church, asking that all visitors show FEMA documentation and ID before getting assistance.
Jane Sirois says she’s caught many instances of fraud.
“There has been a lot of people coming in who did not get any damage, did not lose anything at all, and they’re trying to ride the way, if you will, on people’s misery to get free stuff,” said Sirois.
She says it was heartbreaking to work so hard for her community and see others who don’t have much themselves give every last dime to donate to those in need, while some are pretending to be a victim of the deadly storm.
“I don’t know how people can live with themselves when they do that,” said Sirois. “And looters, there’s been looting going on from the beginning. There’s been looting going on in all of our centers too, where people come in and pretend to be, and they’ll take everything they can if you don’t watch them, and it’s terrible.”
Sirois says she was scared at first that her new requirements might offend some of the storm victims.
She says they’ve been through so much already, she didn’t want to ask more of them, but she quickly learned that the people were in support of her decision.
“We have to do something to weed out the ones who don’t, who are not among the victims,” said Sirois. That’s what it’s donated for and I’m a steward over their donations, so I’ve got to insist that it goes to the people who were damaged by the tornado. That’s what it’s for.”
Sirois says despite the problems they’ve been having, she’s choosing to focus on the good and she says she’s thankful to have a way to help people who actually need it.
She also says the church is always accepting donations, especially food.
Officials say donations can be taken to Beulah Crossroads Baptist Church at 247 Charleston Rd. Dawson Springs, Ky.
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