She's homeless, 75, and has only her dog. Now strangers are helping her get her life back
Update: The Facebook fundraiser included in this story has been closed.
Angelika Metz was broken and out of options a week before Christmas.
The 75-year-old grandmother had spent the past year moving from hotel to hotel, shelling out as much as $700 a week from her dwindling bank account, never having enough money at one time to get into a rental. She said it started when she lost her home of 17 years when the owner of her mobile home park lost the property, and she was unable to move her trailer somewhere else.
Not long ago, she thought she found the two-bedroom home where she, her 10-year-old granddaughter and her 16-year-old dog could start over. But, according to Metz, the rental home turned out to be trashed and the owner essentially fooled her out of the last money she had left.
Losing access to shelter was bad enough. Metz also lost custody of her granddaughter, whom she had raised since the girl was three days old.
"I've been crying day and night," Metz said, tearfully, in a phone interview Tuesday.
But all of the bad has resulted in some good.
After trying unsuccessfully to get a spot at a shelter last week because she refused to give up her dog, Patches, Metz wound up at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Chambersburg. There, she met Cpl. Addison Lovett. He offered to pay for her to stay in a room at Motel 6 in Chambersburg.
"He was very kind, very, very nice," she said.
Already shocked by the trooper's generosity, Metz really couldn't believe what would soon happen.
A state police Twitter account tweeted about Lovett's actions to help Metz. Before long, the tweet's replies were filled with people wondering how they could help. The story also spread across other platforms.
When Lewistown woman Lexi Wagner came across the story on Facebook, the accompanying photo of Metz and Patches hit a soft spot in her mind. The pair made her think of her late grandmother, who was Metz's age when she passed away, and her own old, 14-year-old dog.
"I pictured them out in the cold, and I couldn't take it," Wagner said.
Scanning through the comments of people asking how they could help, she wondered if Metz - not yet named at that point - and her canine companion were still at the hotel or what had happened to them.
She spent time digging for information, even getting stuck at one point, but eventually talked to Metz on the phone.
Before long, Wagner was at Motel 6 with food, clothing and some friendship for Metz.
"She said, 'I don't have anybody; I'm so glad you came,'" Wagner said.
Wagner has started a fundraising campaign on Facebook to cover the cost of the first month's rent and the security deposit of a new home for Metz. She hopes to raise $3,000.
Before Wagner created the fundraising page on Sunday, people had begun paying the room fee so Metz could stay additional nights in the hotel. She can so far stay there through at least the end of the week.
Metz said the support she's received has shown her that there are people out there who really care.
"Oh my god, I couldn't believe it," she said, talking about how she reacted when this story began unfolding.
While struggling to hold herself together through her struggles, Metz has found solace in her relationship with Patches. She's had the dog, which she said is a beagle, his whole life and would never get rid of him.
"He is my little companion," she said.
Metz hopes the positivity that she has encountered at the end of 2020 will continue into the new year. She ideally wants to find a two-bedroom home "I can call my own...and pay my rent, pay my electric."
But above all, she wants her granddaughter back with her.
"That is what I want. I want her back because to me she is the most important thing."
How to help Angelika Metz
Participate in Wagner's fundraiser by searching for "Find a home for Angelika and Patches" on Facebook.
It's no secret that the holidays can be hard for folks, struggling or not. To help Metz cope with the loneliness, Wagner suggested that people send her Christmas cards via Motel 6: 1095 Wayne Ave., Chambersburg, Pa. 17201.
Lovett did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Note: The link to the Facebook fundraiser has been updated.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com.