A woman who received $230,000 in GoFundMe donations after sharing that she and her “3 daughters” were facing an eviction crisis has now lost more than $60,000 of those donations. Many requested refunds of the financial gifts upon learning the woman was not the mother of the children.
After 32-year-old Dasha Kelly took to social media earlier this month to say she was facing the imminent threat of eviction, less than 24 hours later strangers had raised $170,000 through a fundraising site to support Kelly and three children Kelly said were herd. In total, more than $230,000 was raised through the page.
“My daughter’s are aged 5, 6, and 8. Please help with anything you can,” Kelly wrote on the page.
Kelly, one of millions of Americans who faced eviction as the pandemic-era moratorium temporarily expired, spoke to CNN from her Las Vegas apartment this month and expressed gratitude for the donations she’s received.
“I just want to tell everybody thank you so much,” Kelly said tearfully. “I’m still in denial.”
It was later revealed that the three children Kelly referred to as her daughters, Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, are not her biological children, but her boyfriends’ children, after the real mother came forward. Shadia Hilo reached out to CNN with birth certificates proving she was the girls’ mother. In the fallout, GoFundMe temporarily froze the online fundraiser.
In an update posted on Aug. 9, Kelly clarified her relationship with the children after concerns rolled in.
“I’ve been contacted with some concerns around my relationship to the girls mentioned on my fundraiser, and I’d like to clarify a couple things. The girls recognize me as a mother figure in their lives, but I am not their biological mother. My partner is the children’s father whom I do not live with, and I take care of these girls in my home for periods of time, and have for the last couple years.”
Kelly said she loves and treats the girls as if they are her own children. “I’ve loved these girls unconditionally, and have been out of the kindness of my heart. I treat them as my daughters, and care for them in this way,” she wrote.
CNN said it verified that Kelly does in fact care for the children at her home for periods of time.
Kelly reiterated her need for the funds and said she would also be putting money aside for the girls in savings accounts. However, those who wished to refund their donation have been given the opportunity to request a refund from GoFundMe until Aug. 23.
So far, more than $67,000 in donations has been refunded, although donations continue to trickle in. As of Aug. 18, the donations stand at about $164,000.
Some who donated recently offered Kelly words of the support, with the understanding that she’s not the biological mother of the children.
“I commend you for staying active with these girls even though you and their Dad do not live together,” wrote one person who donated $20.
Another added, “I donated to you simply because you care for them girls as your own. It takes a real women to do what your doing. Yes people may judge you. But continue to care for them girls as you have already. God bless you.”
“It’s really humble of you to help that mother,” said another user who added that they were “paying it forward.”
Kelly originally requested $2,000 to help her avoid eviction.