The Anderson sisters have been dubbed the Englewood Angels, after the community rose to support them after they were found living in squalor recently. [GoFundMe]
ENGLEWOOD — Chicago is rallying around three young sisters found living in filth in an abandoned apartment, raising nearly $90,000 to help the kids, including a 7-year-old who had never been to school.
They're being called the "Englewood Angels" on the GoFundMe page set up to help them after Chicago Police officers found them.
The Anderson sisters — Destiny, 7, Derricka, 2 and Errika, 1 — were found when officers from the Englewood District responded to a well-being call in the 6300 block of South Green Avenue at 6:20 a.m. on Nov. 6, according to Officer Kevin Quaid, a Chicago Police Department spokesman.
The girls were discovered alone in an abandoned apartment that had "no electricity, no heat, and was in a very uninhabitable state," according to the fundraiser page set up for the girls. While police were on the scene, their father, Derrick D. Anderson, returned and was placed in custody.
The girls were taken to Comer Children's Hospital for evaluation, and injuries were discovered on Destiny that were consistent with child abuse, Quaid said. The Department of Children and Family Services was notified, and Derrick D. Anderson was charged with one felony count of domestic battery.
A GoFundMe campaign was set up on behalf of the family by Chicago Police Officer Charles Artz with a goal of raising $100,000. In its first eight days, the campaign has raised over $89,000. In response to an email, Artz referred all comments to the Police Department.
The young sisters now are living with their 53-year-old grandmother, Delores Anderson, who was granted temporary custody, and lives only a few blocks from where her granddaughters were discovered.
In a phone interview, Anderson said she had no idea how her granddaughters ended up in the abandoned building.
“Last thing I heard they were staying with the girls' mother’s mom, but I since heard her mother lost her place," she said.
Anderson said she had grown apart from her son and his daughters’ mother, 23-year-old Bianca Johnson. She said both parents are unemployed.
Anderson added that since being awarded temporary custody of her granddaughters, she has heard that they lived in the abandoned building for several months.
“From what people are saying on the streets, they were living in that building for about five or six months. I didn’t know they were living in a building like that because if I had, I would have turned them in to the police,” Anderson said.
Anderson said she will have to find a new apartment for herself and the girls come February.
“I was two months behind in my rent, and my landlord and I were not getting along very well because I lost my previous job. She told me that I broke my lease by moving the girls in, so she terminated it, but is giving me until February to move,” Anderson said.
Anderson had most recently been working for a temp service, but was removed from its schedule because she had to take time off to care for her granddaughters.
Immediately after the girls were placed with their grandmother, the 7th District CAPS office provided coats for the children, Quaid said. In addition, some family friends and neighbors donated money aside from the GoFundMe campaign.
“I’ve only spent some money that people have given to get on the CTA. I don’t want to touch it until I find somewhere to live,” Anderson said.
As for now, Derricka and Errika just turned 2 and 1, respectively, on Nov. 1,3 and 7-year-old Destiny started school last week for the first time in her life.
“They are doing beautiful. They are eating well and getting used to being bathed,” Anderson said.
When told Friday that the GoFundMe campaign was up to $81,000 of its $100,000 goal in just over a week, Anderson responded “wow.”
“I didn’t know that because I don’t have a computer. Wow. I’m going to have somebody help me to open up a college fund for them," Anderson said.
To donate to the fundraising campaign, visit the GoFundMe page.
A photo from the GoFundMe page shows the condition of the abandoned apartment.
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