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Shutdown Stories: 11-year-old starts business to help her furloughed mom

(The Berrellez Family)

On Day 13 of the partial government shutdown, an 11-year-old from North Potomac is on a mission.

“My mind was just going through like, how can I help, how can I contribute to my family,” said Bella Berrellez.

The fifth grader’s mother works for the FDA and is currently furloughed as a result of the government shutdown.

She got her last paycheck on Friday, December 28.

“I woke up one morning and went downstairs to eat breakfast and I saw the television was on and I saw it said the government was shutting down,” said Berrellez. “I just want my mom to be able to go back to work.”

That’s when Berrellez came up with a plan to try to bring in some extra money to help her family through the shutdown.

Bella’s ‘Sweet Scrubs’ is a business she started, selling homemade sugar scrubs for $7 each.

“You take the scrub and rub it on your body in the shower, you use it two or three times a week. It will leave your skin very nice and soft,” she said. “I make it using sugar, and all organic and natural ingredients.”

Berrellez sells them to her neighbors and for an extra 50 cents, she’ll even deliver the products to those who live nearby.

She also sells the sugar scrubs on Etsy, and started a Twitter account to tell potential customers about her special shutdown survival effort.

“I’ve sold around 30 right now, I think,” she said. “Most people are really happy and very supportive of me and they think it’s a great idea.”

On Thursday afternoon, ABC7 News tagged along with Berrellez during a few of her deliveries.

“I think it’s a wonderful use of her time and resources, it’s very creative,” said one customer.

Berrellez said she’ll likely try to keep the business going, even after the shutdown is over.

In the meantime, she hopes that every dollar she brings in will help her family in some small way, as the government shutdown stretches on.

“I understand it’s impacting a lot of people,” she said. “When I found out my mom was furloughed, I was just thinking of fun and creative ways so I could help.”

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