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Pungo student raises money for Bright Futures

BELHAVEN — Pungo Christian Academy student Hannah Van Staalduinen has been working on many mission projects globally and locally. The latest was raising $2,400 for Bright Futures Beaufort County through a yard sale at Petals and Produce in Yeatesville.

Van Staalduinen recently completed a fundraiser to install two water wells in Uganda. Since then, she decided she wanted to embark on a local mission.

“The last project I did was thousands of miles away, so I decided that for my next project, I wanted it to be a ‘local missionary,’ and Bright Futures was a perfect fit to help others in our community,” Van Staalduinen said.

The mission of Bright Futures Beaufort County is to create partnerships inspiring educational achievement and developing community success to enrich the lives of children. It is a partnership between Beaufort County Schools and the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, according to the Chamber’s website.

“All of the items that were brought in came from local families who were cleaning their houses out during quarantine,” Van Staalduinen said. “Everybody is trying to find something to do and cleaning out their houses is at the top of the list for most people. So, I opened up to the idea of doing a nonprofit yard sale with all of the proceeds going towards Bright Futures.”

Items donated ranged from books, baby items, toys, golf clubs, baskets, curtains, pillows, dressers, decorations, mirrors and many others, according to Van Staalduinen.

“My original goal was to raise $1,000, but when the $2,400 was counted, I was simply humbled by the amount of generosity from my community. What started out as a one-day event, turned into a week event with the amount being more than doubled,” Van Staalduinen said. “Bright Futures Beaufort County helps meet the basic needs of students in Beaufort County. It is their goal to help meet these basic needs so that students will be able to come to school and learn. In addition, they also partner businesses and churches with schools to help meet some of the longer-term needs.”

While Van Staalduinen has completed missions globally and locally, her next project will be dedicated to her mom.

“In January, my mom was diagnosed with a rare disease called granulomatosis with polyangitis,” Van Staalduinen said. “It only affects every eight out of one million people, and there is no cure. I would like to raise money for her disease in hopes to find that cure.”