Family warns donation jars are not what they seem

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Collection jars and notes like the one pictured here are not authentic, said the family of a man who died in December. (Courtesy of Haley Dye)

CULLMAN, Ala. – It’s been less than a month since Haley Dye’s longtime boyfriend and father of their 2-year-old daughter, Dawsyn, tragically passed away in a workplace accident.  Now, as the family grieves its loss, Dye learned that fraudulent collection jars have appeared in at least 10 locations in Cullman, Blount and Jefferson Counties. Taylor Curtis Gray, 23, died after falling from the roof of a 6-story apartment building while working in Birmingham Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019.

Dye spoke with the Tribune in hopes of putting an end to the deception. 

She explained, “I’ve already pressed charges, but I want to leave the name (of the person responsible) out of it. I’ve already pressed charges, but he went and set up donation jars and wrote notes saying, ‘My name is Haley and I lost my husband. Help me and my daughter.’ I’ve counted at least 10.” 

Dye first learned of the jars being set up in Hanceville and took to Facebook warning others. Her post has now been shared more than 1,300 times and through the comment section of her post, more jars were reported in Sumiton, Blountsville, Hayden, Cleveland, Warrior and Gardendale.

“I pressed charges for the three in Hanceville because I live in Hanceville and would have to go to each county and that’s just too much right now,” she said.

Dye has been told by some store owners that the jars were being checked regularly by the person who set them up, but Dye and her daughter have not received the money.

“All the establishments, they had no idea!” she said, “There are people commenting saying, ‘I’m never going there’ or ‘I’m never eating there again.’ They all thought they were doing the right thing by putting out the jars. They had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

As of right now, Dye isn’t sure if all the jars have been reported. If you see any collection jars, Dye asks that you tell the business of the scam. Currently, there are no fundraisers for Haley and Dawsyn. A GoFundMe was set up in December, but it has since been closed. 

The person who set up the jars told businesses that Haley and Dawsyn were struggling and didn’t have food or diapers.

Dye clarified, “Taylor’s family has helped me, my family has helped me and the whole community has helped me. We are not struggling at all, and we are fine.” 

The amount of money collected in the jars is unknown, but one location estimated that at least $300-$400 had been collected in just the jar it had.

Dye said, “I feel bad for everyone who has donated. I just feel terrible that they gave their hard-earned money to something they thought was a good cause.” 

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com