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Bar 17 owner buying, collecting school supplies for Charlotte County students

Bar 17 owner buying, collecting school supplies for Charlotte County students

Russ Bellerose’s Bar 17 is closed because of COVID-19, but the Punta Gorda veteran is in the business of giving back by collecting school supplies here.

“We did a backpack for kids program last year and the intent was to be able to fill backpacks full of school supplies for kids and everything that they need for their first day of school,” he said. “I think there’s gonna be a lot more children in need this year because with the COVID shutdowns and the people out of work.”

Kim Small and the Patriot Riders of Port Charlotte raced at the opportunity to drop off backpacks for Bellerose’s drive.

“He has got to be one of the kindest most generous individuals that I have ever met,” Small said. “He’s struggling, his business can’t open and yet, he’s still doing what he can for the community.”

“I’m gonna donate probably around $500 out of my pocket to make sure that we fill the distribution center at Charlotte County,” Bellerose said.

Charlotte County Public Schools community liaison Michael Riley will help distribute those donations equally among the county’s 22 schools.

“I just think that’s awesome,” Riley said. “I know that I spoke to Russ on the phone and he’s been closed and he’s struggling, but they’ve got big hearts to take time out of their lives and out of their personal expenses and do what they’re doing for the children. It’s just amazing.”

“When they get to the age where they can give back to the community, they’ll remember that the community gave to them and they can, in turn, continue the traditions that we’ve started here,” Bellerose said.

He’ll be collecting supplies for Charlotte County schools until the end of August. If you want to contribute, you can drop off supplies at Bar 17 located at 3149 Duncan Road in Punta Gorda on Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 5-7 p.m.

You can also help by contacting the district’s education foundation by calling 941-255-7500 or visit their website.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Briana Harvath
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