Bikers and Bar 17 give away hundreds of backpacks to students

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
biker backpacks
Credit: WINK News

For the third year in a row, Bar 17 teamed up with a group of bikers to pack book bags for students for the upcoming school year.

The bikers started at Bar 17 in Punta Gorda ready to deliver the backpacks to Neil Armstrong Elementary School in Port Charlotte.

More than 400 students will be able to come grab the new backpacks that have been filled with school supplies for the first day.

Russ Bellrose owns Bar 17. “Today is our third annual backpack for kids drive,” said Bellerose.

This year, Bellrose worked with American Bikers United Against Terrorism to make sure that every child came prepared for their first day of school.

“Regardless of what their family’s financial situation as can come to school with a new backpack, with supplies and have everything they need to confidently start their school year,” he said.

Together, they filled those backpacks with school supplies, all 420 of them.

“43 teacher kits, which is excess supplies that a random child might need in class and the teacher doesn’t have to pay for out-of-pocket,” said Bellrose. This is so teachers don’t have to stress about the first day, either.

Chuck “Shotz” Tucker is the president of American Bikers United Against Terrorism. “Our wives have been up till one or two in the morning, doing everything they did to make this happen,” he said.

On two wheels, the president of this biker group and 50 others delivered those backpacks.

The Principal Secretary at Neil Armstrong, Dinay Baun, and her daughter say that means so much.

“It’s great for the children that don’t have stability to be able to get backpacks or school supplies. It’s very helpful for our children,” said Baun.

Lexy Baun is Dinay’s daughter. “It’s helping all the kids who either can’t afford to buy school supplies or can’t buy them themselves,” she said.

Bar 17 and the bikers say they plan to help again.

Each of the backpacks included every item on the school’s supply list. Students are able to come and get their new backpacks during parent-teacher meetings this week.

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