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Elkhart police and community band together to help 72-year-old woman

ELKHART, Ind. -

A 72-year-old woman touched the hearts of the Elkhart Police Department, and the entire Elkhart community.  

"I'm tingling because I'm happy, I'm very happy," says 72-year-old Barbara Whitener. 

It's been five days since Whitener walked into her Elkhart apartment, just behind police headquarters, to find all of her food gone.

"When I came back I noticed that everything was gone, my food was gone," she recalls. "I ran down here crying to the manager and she told me to call the police."

Elkhart Police responded quickly, but didn't feel they did enough.

"You can go to hundreds of calls, and nothing effects you. And then you get to that one, and it just hits home with you," says Sgt. Chris Snyder with the Elkhart Police. "The officer was there and was talking to the victim, and this is one that just struck home. He said 'hey, we need to do something.'

Something as simple, and as powerful, as making sure Whitener would be able to feed herself. 

On a fixed income, it was difficult for her to come back from this loss.

Elkhart Police, and the community, stood together and came up with enough money to put onto gift cards, allowing Whitener to be able to get food for the next five months. 

"Everything is going to be okay now. Now I'll be able to have something to eat," she says. 

Whitener was also given a new door lock, for a very important reason: to protect her.

"To make sure this victim is taken care of, so they're not a victim again," explains Sgt. Snyder.

But her appreciation for the boys in blue started several decades ago.

"I was born in a police car 72 years ago," Whitener laughs.

And now, once again, she's thankful for those who serve.

"They stuck by me right then and there," she says. "They really did. And I appreciate it."

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