TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan is using crime money to make a difference by giving $10,000 back to the community as part of a new neighborhood grant.
Dugan created the Community Investment Grant that takes money from criminals and puts it back into local organizations, helping make the streets of Tampa.
Project LINK is the first organization to receive $2,500 on Wednesday. Dugan is preparing to hand out three more grants soon.
LINK is a community project inside Hillsborough County Public School District's Full Service Centers. Currently the group is working on 'success kits' at five elementary and middle schools that are experiencing chronic attendance concerns.
LINK tells ABC Action News they collect new school uniforms, shoes, toiletries and undergarments to help students feel comfortable at school.
In some of these low-income areas of Tampa, LINK found that students were too embarrassed or ashamed to go to school because they didn't have shoes or proper clothes — instead staying home and missing class.
In the grant application, LINK wrote that along with not having proper attire, students don't have food at home or resources like the internet to study.
With the grant money, the program will help buy more items for the family boutique shop where clothes, toys, reading materials, shoes and toiletries are available for free.
LINK says they want to increase the ability to identify and prevent early warning signs of excessive absenteeism.
With less absenteeism, LINK said it helps student stay focus on school and achieving success.
The crime money given to LINK will help provide 300 uniforms, 600 pairs of socks and 600 pairs of undergarments to boys and girls.
"If it gives them the self confidence to do better and not get in trouble, then I think that’s a win for the police department — we don’t want to arrest people, we want to help keep them out of trouble," said Chief Dugan.
For more information on the thirty year program, click here.