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Bell Blvd. jeweler raises $$ for charity

Rutgers is making the offer in the hope that people will donate a small, generous amount of money to the Shield Institute, an organization in Bayside for developmentally disabled adults.

"Some people say you don't get something for nothing, but I'm giving away something for nothing," Rutgers chuckles.

"The average cost of a watch battery is $5," Rutgers says, adding anything between $2 and $5 would be a decent donation for the institute.

Rutgers has been in the jewelry business for 42 years since he started working under his father in a store in Great Neck, where his father still works. Rutgers Jr. opened the Bayside store 22 years ago. This is the first time he has collected money for the Shield Institute.

"We're very obliged and thankful to Mr. Rutgers," Peter Mohamed, program director at Shield Institute, says.

"Our real support comes from the Bayside Business Association as well as store owners like himself," Mohamed says.

The not-for-profit, state-licensed institute teaches everyday life skills and daily activities to the students, who number about 200 and come from all over Queens.

Student enrollment is covered by Medicaid. The institute is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday, and there are evening programs as well.

"The idea is to get them to interact with the community so they are not stuck in the building all day," Mohamed says.

In the past, Shield students have done area cleanups for the neighborhood. Last year one student regularly swept in front of Rutger's store two times a week.

So far I've collected $500, and I would like to raise $1,000," Rutgers says.

Mohamed says the funds will be used for items like admission fees and snack food money on field trips, and arts-and-crafts materials for projects at the institute.

Rutgers says he is intent on raising the money "strictly because I want to give something back to the community."

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