By Pat Crowley
City of Erlanger
Delivery of a hot meal. Giving an elderly woman the ability to hear. Providing a bus ticket home and a warm place to stay. Stuffed animals, coloring books and balloons for children who are injured, grieving or in difficult or traumatic situations.
These are all examples of how the E-Angel program brought a bit of heaven to the town of Erlanger last year.
Launched in 2020, Erlanger Police Social Services Coordinator Becky Strouse created the E-Angel program to rely solely on private donations to provide essential services to individuals and families to help them achieve sustainability. The program, which raised more than $5,500 last year, intentionally focuses on supporting people who might not otherwise get support from other sources.
Strouse said she created the program to ensure that when all other resources are exhausted, a person or family is not turned away.
“Northern Kentucky has many resources to help families and individuals in crisis,” Strouse said. “I’m able to use these resources for most families, but it’s this family that doesn’t meet the income criteria, the family that’s in need at 3 a.m. that I wanted to make sure ‘she doesn’t fall through the cracks.”
The program has received donations from private organizations, businesses, local churches and individuals. Thanks to these donations in 2021, the program was able to help 59 families and/or individuals. Sixty-two percent of the donations were intended to help with housing; 17% for miscellaneous needs; 15% was used for grocery assistance; five percent was used for Christmas aid; and one percent went to transportation assistance.
“There will always be vulnerable citizens in our community who will need a helping hand in areas that most of us take for granted – nutrition, education, mental and medical health, daily living , housing and employment,” said Erlanger Mayor Jessica. Fette. “The E-Angel provides the support that helps meet the daily needs of adults, children and families in Erlanger while strengthening the pride, functionality and integrity of our city.”
Here are some specific examples of service and kindness that the E-Angel program was able to provide in the past year:
• A kid who was involved in a serious accident was hospitalized for a long time and three other siblings were at home. E-Angel provided a Grub Hub gift card to help deliver meals to the family during this difficult time.
• An old woman could not make medical appointments for herself due to hearing loss. She had insurance, but didn’t have the money for a copay for hearing aids. E-Angel paid co-payments for her hearing aids so she could live independently.
• E-Angel bought plush police bears that Erlanger police must provide at scenes where a child may be present and need additional care.
• E-Angel purchased books for children who experience the death of a loved one by suicide or overdose. Trauma books help young children better understand the difficult situation.
• E-Angel bought stuffed animals and balloons for two children in hospital after a serious car accident that caused the death of both parents.
• E-Angel bought a Greyhound bus ticket for a kidnapping victim who was brought to Kentucky from Indiana. Police were able to apprehend a suspect in the kidnapping, but the victim had no way to get home until E-Angel came to their aid.
• During the pandemic, When children were at home using computers and listening to live lessons, many said they found it difficult to focus on what was a new way of learning. E-Angel has purchased several headphones for several families experiencing the problem.
• An elderly veteran and the disabled adult daughter’s home was boarded up. E-Angel was able to provide a hotel immediately and until services were in place and the hotel was relocated.
“The program has been uniquely successful and the only way to continue is through more corporate and individual donations, no city funds are used for this project, 100% donations,” said Strouse.
To donate to the E-Angel program, contact Police Social Services Coordinator Becky Strouse at [email protected] or 859-727-7968.