Money seized from illicit gambling ring donated to Savannah agencies that help victims of crime

Money seized from illicit gambling ring donated to Savannah agencies that help victims of crime

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Christmas came early for four Savannah-area non-profits, thanks to money forfeited from a big illicit gambling operation in the state last year.

Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap was recently notified $2 million of that money was coming to her office and could be given to agencies that help victims of crime.

Heap got to tell the heads of the Rape Crisis Center, Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center, Safe Shelter and the Chatham County Family Justice Center that each would be receiving half a million dollars. Its good news that couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We have been struggling this year. We were going to go into 2021 $300,000 in debt because we couldn’t have our gala,” Safe Shelter Executive Director Cheryl Branch said.

All the non-profit victim advocacy agencies in the bunch have had the same struggles fundraising this year due to COVID-19. But even with the budget shortfalls, their services remain in need.

“We handle cases that you would think during a pandemic we wouldn’t have to even see. But we still see the child molestations, we still see the sexual assault of children, we still see the physical abuse of children. This money really is going to take care of those kids,” Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center Executive Director Rose Grant-Robinson said.

It’s an unprecedented amount of money under the circumstances, in unprecedented times, that will go towards helping those most vulnerable in the community.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.