Belk partners with Bright Futures to give clothes for kids

Published 7:34 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A generous donation from Belk of Washington will help stock clothing closets at local schools in Washington, providing clothes for Beaufort County Schools students in need. The donation comes as a new partnership between Belk and Beaufort County Bright Futures, an effort sponsored by the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce that seeks to provide for the basic needs of local students.

Tuesday morning, BCS school counselors and administrators showed up at the Washington store for a major shopping spree, courtesy of Belk’s Project Hometown, one of the company’s philanthropic efforts. Representatives from each school participating were given a certain amount to spend in the store, using the funds to buy new, seasonally-appropriate clothes for their students.

“Ashley (Padgett) contacted our home office inquiring about Project Hometown,” Belk Store Manager Tracey Noll said. “The minute she told me about what our donation could do for the local school system, I got on the phone with my regional (manager), and we said, ‘This is absolutely something we want to get behind.’”

BIG THANK YOU: School counselors and administrators from Beaufort County Schools went on an hour-long shopping spree at the Washington Belk on Tuesday morning, selecting clothes for their respective schools’ clothing closets. The event was made possible by a partnership between Belk and Bright Futures Beaufort County. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

The Bright Futures program works to provide clothing for children in need, both through clothing closets at Beaufort County schools and for kids and families impacted by difficult circumstances such as natural disasters and residential fires.

“We have these needs at all of our schools,” said Ashley Padgett, BCS student services director. “Clothing closet is for that immediate need, like they’ve just outgrown their pants or their shirt or they don’t have clothes for the next season.”

But the clothing closets aren’t the only good cause sponsored by the program. Some of Bright Future’s other projects include:

  • Food and Hygiene closets (students in need are able to access food and hygiene items);
  • Back Pack Pals (Back packs full of non-perishable food items are sent home on Friday so students in need have food during the weekend);
  • Prom Boutique (donated dresses are sold to students for $5 so all can attend prom);
  • Emergency clothing and furniture for families with needs that cannot be met by clothing closets;
  • Thanksgiving meals;
  • Minor home repairs.

School counselors, social workers and the BCS director of student services vet each need.Donations are then accepted at the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce.

“There’s a great need,” said Eastern Elementary Counselor Elizabeth Picone. “…We like to try to help them out, especially during Christmas. They just don’t have the proper clothing this time of year. We’ll have kids that come in wearing shorts on a day like today. So we like to try to help them out. It really makes you feel good, because they know that they don’t always have what other kids have. When you see that smile when you give them a pair of pants that makes them warm, it’s amazing. It’s almost like you have a friend for life.”

CART FULL: School counselors Jamie Richards, of John Cotten Tayloe, and Cate Poage, of John Small Elementary School, get ready to check out with a cart full of clothes for their students. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

To learn more about Bright Futures Beaufort County, visit or call 252-946-9168. Student needs are also shared regularly on the Bright Futures Facebook page @brightfuturesbeaufortcounty.