Beware of those Collecting Donations in Front of your Local Grocery Store
East Coast Rescue Mission
I ran into a man collecting donations in front of a local grocery chain; for a charity he called “The East Coast Rescue Mission”. He had laminated papers that explained the organizations mission etc. The box he had was also decorated in a style that would suggest he was collecting for veterans that were injured or had fallen on hard times.
Melissa and I spoke with the man for several minutes trying to get an idea of exactly what the funds etc. went to and if there was a way that we could help promote the cause through Spotlight Charity. As we spoke with him we started to become concerned that he wasn’t really collecting for anyone but himself. To be fair, Melissa started picking up on some oddities before I did. I was focused on learning how I could help. Anyway, several of his statements including one where he said “I only made $23.00 today.” And his focus on telling us about his own struggles rather than what the charity truly did, inspired me to check out this “Non Profit”.
As we suspected, the IRS database held no record of this organization. I took a look on Sunbiz where I found a non profit corporation registered under the name “East Coast Rescue Mission” without an EIN. The information about them is a little confusing, a name change was requested last year to a different name entirely, which I also couldn’t find on the IRS database.
I won’t mention the name of the new corporation as I can’t be certain if they are legitimate or not. Sufficing to say, we won’t be promoting either “charity” on our website.
This whole experience was a little unnerving to me, we are always cautious to check on nonprofits that we promote freely on our website, but if I had cash in my pocket, I’m sure I would have given it to this man. If he were homeless and “needed a cup of coffee” I would also have reached into my pocket to help him on his way. But to collect funds for a cause that doesn't really exist, I can’t get behind that.
I’m not sure of “the moral to this story”; it’s unfortunate that in the future I will likely walk on by if there are collectors for charities that I’m unaware of. I also expect that I will dig deeper into any known collector’s documentation etc. before digging into my pockets.
To any representative of East Coast Rescue Mission. If I am wrong and you are truly a not for profit organization with legitimate nonprofit status, please contact us through this website. I will gladly eat my words and print a retraction.