Police donate dirty money to help kids in St. Pete

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Drug dealers helping kids is not something you hear about very often. However, on Thursday in St. Petersburg, that was the case as the dirty money that put criminals and drug dealers behind bars got a new purpose.

The St. Petersburg Police Department forfeiture fund gave $100,000 47 organizations that benefit kids and teens throughout the community.

"Here are these programs, they can't afford to do a football program or a basketball program. You and I see it all the time; they're at stores trying to collect money. It's nice to say 'don't worry about collecting money, go out there and spend time with the kids,'" said St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway.

One of the 47 groups that benefited from the grant was the Sideline Sports Cheer Team.

"We have both boys and girls. We have girls in middle school, we have boys and girls in high school. They come from all walks of life," said Keri Stanton, the team's cheer coach.

The organization received $1,000 from the department. They said the money will be put towards new cheer shoes for all of their team members.

"Our old cheer shoes really made me have some cramps that got really bad, so I'm glad that we get to have some new shoes that are better and flexible," said Ashanti Welch, a 10th-grade cheerleader on the team.

The shoes may seem like a simple thing. However, each pair costs over $100. In order for the team to be able to compete with all its members at competition, everyone needs to have a pair.

"Some of us can't really afford cheer shoes, so it gives us the chance so we can get all the same cheer shoes so we can compete and look uniform and nice," said Hailey Stanton, another 10th grader on the team.

For their first two seasons, the team borrowed uniforms from other retired programs. They have been working hard ever since to raise enough money to have their own uniforms, and they said the grant money will go a long way.

This year, Chief Holloway gave more than three times the required amount to local organizations.

"By law, we have to give 25 percent, but we say 'no we're not going to stop there,'" said Holloway. "If there are a lot of good programs out there, we're going to keep continuing to give to those groups."

Holloway said its worth it to go above and beyond when they're able to see so much good come from the bad.