BAKERSFIELD - A northeast Bakersfield non-profit has been collecting money for months outside local stores. Volunteers say the money is going to help families in need, but so far the founder says none of that money has helped anyone.
Reverend Ray Grable said he's been saving the money to buy a building to distribute food and clothing. Once he has the money he says he'll start helping the public, but some who gave, say it seems like a scam.
"Hey. How you doing today? Would you like to help out with families in need today?," said Lazell Thomas, who has been collecting donations outside the Foods Co on Haley Avenue since 7:30 a.m. Friday. We spoke with him around noon. "What we trying to do is help families in need. We also feed them, clothe them, and we also try to provide shelter if you can."
But, some are skeptical.
"I've never seen him here before, but I don't know if it's legit or not," said Alexandria White of Bakersfield.
Ray's Life Ministries started collecting in May, asking for donations every day at several locations around the city. It has a non-profit license, with an address.
"Right now, we just have this one little building on Niles with food and clothes," said Grable.
But, when we went to the non-profit's address, all we found was the apartment of Reverend Ray Grable.
"You want to call me a scam please don't," said Grable, founder of Ray's Life Ministries. "I'll look straight into the camera. Give me a chance."
Grable says his organization has collected $1,800, but he says so far none of it has gone to helping needy families. Instead the money is sitting in a bank account.
"We are collecting money right now to put it in the bank to acquire a building," said Grable.
Grable said he needs a building before he can give away food, because his landlord won't let him distribute it from his unit.
"I'd love to go to the 99 Cents store and buy $500 worth of food and give it away, but my landlord will not permit this," said Grable.
Grable says a building is too expensive. He said it would cost at least $5,000 up front plus money for insurance. So, he's praying people believe he'll eventually spend the money for good.
"We want to do so much good. We want Bakersfield in the palm of our hands. We want to help them. You're going to make me cry, stop," said Grable.
Reverend Grable said he changed his phone number because of all the complaints he's received about his charity. Grable hopes to have a building in three months.