Verify: Is a religious gathering giving away free money?

Is a Facebook post floating around regarding free financial assistance real?

QUESTION:

Is an advertisement offering free money for electric bills, day care, car notes, etc. legitimate?  

ANSWER:

We can verify this advertisement is endorsed by Celebrate America, a week-long community gathering of Evangelical pastors and congregants happening in D.C. from July 4 through July 10. However, not everyone will win the free money, as it is a raffle with drawings.

SOURCE:

Pastor Jason Williams, spokesperson and volunteer member for Celebrate America in D.C.

PROCESS:

Two viewers contacted WUSA9 wanting to know whether an advertisement found on Facebook, offering cash towards electric bills, day care, and cell phone bills, is legitimate.

The ad came from Celebrate America, a missionary event inviting the community to a week of Evangelical services in the District beginning on July 4.

The revival gathering will take place at Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall on D Street.

Pastor Jason Williams, a volunteer member of Celebrate America, confirmed that people attending Celebrate America’s nightly sermons are eligible for “free financial assistance.” However, when pushed for details, Williams was less cooperative and admitted that not everyone would receive free money.

“Every night we will bless the agenda, and they will hear an encouraging word. We’re giving away big things and small things. It’s a drawing, not everyone will get it,” Pastor Williams said.

He explained that participants will get a raffle ticket for attending, but wouldn’t tell us how many winners there are each night, how many drawings they conduct—and most importantly—how much money they would be giving away.  

In general, be wary of vague language in ads that offer “money towards rent”— that could mean anything from $1 to $1,000.

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