The Schweickert family donated an additional $5,000 to a trust fund created by the family in 2018 to help people in emergency situations. The money is managed by the Peru Catholic parishes and is given to the Peru police when someone is in need.
The money is only used in emergency situations. This could include helping people who are stranded on the interstate or are victims of domestic violence. It can also be used to pay for emergency housing, food or gas. No other police department in the state has access to a trust fund like this, according to Peru Police Lieutenant of Administrative Services Doug Bernabei.
“It is very admirable of the Schweickerts, " Bernabei said. “They’re doing this to take care of people they don’t even know.”
The Schweickert family requested the money be managed by the Peru Catholic Parishes and Bernabei oversees the handing out of the funds to those in need. Bernabei said the money was given to the church to avoid complications of it being considered government funds and because many people go to the church when they need help.
The Rev. Father Gary Blake of Peru Catholic Parishes said people often come knocking on his door when they are in desperate need of food, money or shelter. The trust fund allows the church to then direct people to the police for help.
The funds are not limited to the Peru police. Any local officer can get approved to access the funds in a situation where the money is needed. An officer can get reimbursed with the funds at a later date or contact a Peru Police Department supervisor for immediate access to the money.
Since the trust was established in 2018, the Schweickert family donated multiple installments when the police ran out of funds, including the most recent donation. This most recent donation will be the third or fourth donation of $5,000 in the last four years.