Drug money diverted to help kids in Hampden County

The Springfield Boys & Girls club was 1 of 8 forfeiture grant recipients

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –  Thousands of dollars in confiscated drug money is being diverted to help kids in Hampden County. It’s the district attorney’s goal to take money originally associated with drugs or weapons, and put it to good use.

For the Springfield Boys & Girls Club, it’s something worth celebrating.  Renovations were made to the club’s dance studio, paid for with the money seized in drug raids. The Hampden District Attorney’s office awarded the club $7,000 in forfeiture grants last summer.

“It was such a privilege to be able to take money from the bad guys and give it to kids who can really use it, and we take that to heart,” says Executive Director of the club Sarah Tsitso.

Police take 10’s of thousands of dollars off the streets every year. District Attorney Anthony Gulluni’s goal is to use that money to provide more opportunities for kids. District Attorney Gulluni awarded $70,000 in grants last year. He told 22News he hopes the money pulled off the streets this year from any illegal activity can only be used to better the community.

“To take that money that was really in the wrong hands, and used for the wrong purposes, that came with really terrible circumstances, and turn it into something where kids can have a healthy, productive outlet with their time… it’s heartwarming,” says Gulluni.

Gulluni said he’s been aggressive in having the money awarded to programs that benefit kids long-term, like the Boys & Girl’s Club. The DA’s office reviews the applications for these competitive grants.  Gulluni said his office will be disburse more grant money in June.

Among the 8 grant recipients, were also the YMCA & YWCA.

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