COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) — Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, decided to take matters into his own hands when restaurants shut down in New York City due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Portnoy introduced the Barstool Fund a month ago, on Dec. 17, with an initial $500,000 of his own money.
The Barstool Fund has raised over $26,918,976 and has helped 142 businesses so far – including one local Colorado Springs restaurant.
AJ Frasca, owner of Panino’s Restaurant, submitted to the Barstool Fund with this emotional video:
Frasca received a nice surprise this week: a call from the Santa Clause of the pandemic, Dave Portnoy.
“We want to add you to the fund and just give you the support you need till this thing done,” said Portnoy over Facetime.
Frasca replied, “Hoo… thanks dude,” as tears filled his eyes.
In an interview with FOX21, Frasca described the moment.
“It’s overwhelming. I was bawling. It’s emotional,” he said. “It’s very rare to see as an owner, someone coming and just giving you a huge gift, it’s inspiring it just makes me just wanna do the best we can to keep serving and stay in business even more!”
And Portnoy isn’t done with granting wishes. The list keeps on growing. He documents all of the surprise Facetime calls on his Twitter account. The many emotional interactions are enough to bring anyone to tears.
“Watch these videos, and if you still stay on the sidelines and don’t help don’t donate, whatever it is, there’s something wrong with you – you can’t help but be moved by this,” said Portnoy.
Many big names have also stepped up to donate, including Aaron Rodgers, Guy Fieri, Tom Brady, Kid Rock, the New England Patriots, and more.
“It’s a hard time, restaurants are going through something we never imagined so it’s cool that this guy created this for small little restaurants like us,” said Panino’s downtown owner, Christina Lashwood.