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Park & Rec founder helps charity grant wishes for kids with a life-threatening illness

Burger sales at the Avenue help raise money
Stephen Schrutt with girl
Posted at 3:53 AM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 07:35:14-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Restaurant mogul Stephen Schrutt is a busy man.

His Park & Rec bar and games concept recently moved into Tropicana Field and will soon open a downtown Tampa spot, too.

His other joints, the Avenue and the new No Vacancy, also gobble up his time.

That is why he looks forward to his monthly lunch with kids from the Children’s Dream Fund. The charity helps kids with life-threatening illnesses have some much-deserved fun.

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“It’s a nice change-up from my daily routine to sit with and get to know someone who’s so courageous,” says Schrutt. “And Kelsie is just awesome.”

That would be 7-year-old Kelsie Vance from Seminole. She suffers from cystic fibrosis, but that does not stop her from playing air hockey and basketball with Schrutt at Park & Rec.

She is ready for some laughs.

“I have to go to the hospital more,” says Kelsie. “I also have to take pills before I eat. But this is fun today.”

Next door at the Avenue restaurant, Schrutt serves Kelsie the Burger of the Month. He donates $1 from each Burger of the Month sold to the Children’s Dream Fund to help the charity grant wishes for kids.

Truth be told, Kelsie isn’t feeling this month’s burger, the Chef Curry Thai burger. But she is loving the Avenue’s mac and cheese and she knows how to charm.

“Eat burgers and save kids,” Kelsie says with a big smile.