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Bright futures helping local students, restaurants with new initiative

Meeting two needs in Beaufort County at the same time, Bright Futures Beaufort County is offering a unique model for supporting local businesses and feeding families in need. It’s called the Bright Futures Two-for-One Challenge.

“We’re asking people to call their favorite local restaurant, order a take out meal and also purchase a gift card from that restaurant and we will get that gift card to a Bright Futures family in need,” said WBCC Assistant Director Robin McKeithan. “It’s kind of a two-for-one. You support a local restaurant and help Bright Futures family.”

A partnership between the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and Beaufort County Schools, Bright Futures works year round to help meet the needs of underserved students.

Bright Futures is also working with the school system to continue its Backpack Pals program, which sends backpacks full of food home with local students on the weekends.

“With everything on halt, the people that are normally packing those bags, like churches, we wanted to make sure that continued on the weekend,” McKeithan said.

To support the effort, Nutrien has pledged $5,000 and the Chamber is working to raise an equivalent match. So far, PNG Manufacturing has pledged $2,000 and others have made individual donations. Those wishing to donate can mail a check, payable to WBC Chamber Foundation (with Bright Futures – Nutrien match in the memo line) to WBC Chamber, PO Box 665, Washington, NC 27889.

“We’ve got teachers right now who are donating their time,” said BCS Director of Student Services Ashley Padgett. “We’ve got to do some mapping, but we’re hoping to do some more closer-to-home deliveries for our students.”

Padgett said the school system has also established a hotline for student needs, which can be reached at 252-940-6546 between noon and 2 pm and again from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Bright Futures frequently updates its Facebook page with student needs from throughout Beaufort County. Anyone interested can follow the organization at @brightfuturesbeaufortcounty.