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FORT MYERS, FLA.,  March 5, 2020 – Country music stars Carrie Underwood and Billy Dean are among the celebrities who are donating items for the return of Handbag Happy Hour Wednesday, March 25, at The Standard Restaurant in downtown Fort Myers.
Underwood has donated two personally autographed handbags for the event while Dean has donated an autographed bottle of Schramsberg Sparkling Wine and Amici Wine along with a collection of his famous songs.
Also participating is rocker-artist-designer Steve Luongo who has donated two of his high-end designer shirts for the men’s accessories portion of the event.
Local NBC-2 Anchor Kellie Burns has donated one of her gently-loved handbags and NBC-2 Anchor Nate Foy and NBC-2 Morning Meteorologist Jason Dunning have donated men’s ties for the men’s accessories portion of the event.
They are among more than 100 handbags and men’s accessories to be offered for silent and live auction to benefit Valerie’s House and The Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation at The Shell Factory.
“We are so happy with the community’s response to the return of this fabulous event after a 13-year hiatus.  We have gently-loved designer handbags by Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and others,” said Pam Cronin, event chair and owner of The Shell Factory and Nature Park.  “We are still collecting handbags and men’s accessories from celebrities and loyal supporters.”
Cronin emphasized that Handbag Happy Hour is a fund-raising event for both men and women.
Donated items can be delivered to The Standard Restaurant at 1520 Broadway, next door at the Seed & Bean Market and at The Shell Factory on U.S. 41 in North Fort Myers.  Pick up of items also can be arranged by calling 239-410-1929.
“Havana Nights” is the theme for this year’s event with Flamenco dancers, bongo drummers and Cuban cigars setting the mood for the evening.  Mojitos and Cuban appetizers are included in the ticket price of $50 per person or $800 for a reserved table of eight.  Sponsorships also are available at $1,000 to $3,000.
Tickets may be purchased online at
Downtown Diva Stephanie Davis and Wine Aficionado Gina Birch will share emcee duties for the live auction of a few select celebrity handbags.  The majority of items will be offered in a silent auction.
Event sponsors are Storm Smart, The Standard Restaurant, Seed & Bean Market, The Shell Factory and Nature Park, Florida Weekly and Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C.
All proceeds will benefit Valerie’s House, which helps grieving children heal after the loss of a parent or loved one, and The Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation, which provides transportation funding for Lee County school children to visit the park.  Both organizations are not-for-profit and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
About Valerie’s House
Valerie’s House is the first and only organization in Southwest Florida with the sole mission to help children grieve the loss of a loved one.  With locations in Fort Myers, Naples and Punta Gorda, Valerie’s House is a special place where children connect with one another and learn the tools to heal after they have experienced the death of someone they love.  At Valerie’s House, children know others their own age, and they learn that loss doesn’t have to limit their dreams.  In addition to a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, Valerie’s House is a family of others grieving.  Many have also gone through the same journey and help children see that there is hope.   Valerie’s House is fully supported through community donations that can be made online at or by mail to Valerie’s House, Inc., P.O. Box 1955, Fort Myers, FL 33902.
About The Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation
The Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation is located at The Shell Factory in North Fort Myers and provides new and enhanced habitats, nutritious meals and enrichment for the animals, birds, reptiles and fish that call the Nature Park home. Contributions also provide funding for transportation for Lee County School students to visit the park.  The organization’s mission is to provide an educational and fun experience for local school children by providing the opportunity to learn about and explore the animals and the environment.  For more information or to make a tax-deductible gift, visit .

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