GAITHERSBURG, MD. – While crises such as we are now currently facing in our country can bring out the worst in people, so too can it bring out the very best of people. And sometimes, that very best comes from the most unexpected places. In Gaithersburg, MD., a seven-year-old used his savings to help those in need. This is a lesson some adults should learn from.
When we see grown men and women storming grocery stores, hoarding basic needs such as toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies, we see adults getting in fights over goods that were in plentiful supply throughout the country, it makes you wonder about the state of humanity.
Cavanaugh Bell, 7, spent $600 of his own money, which he had saved from two birthdays and three Christmases to make “COVID-19 Carepacks.” Seriously, a young child took it upon himself to take HIS money which was received as gifts and make care packages for seniors and students.
The money enabled Cavanaugh to make 65 of the Carepacks and purchase 31 hot meals from a local restaurant, Buca Di Beppo to serve to senior citizens and to help local businesses which were closed as a result of Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order last Monday.
In a video for those who are supporting his efforts, Cavanaugh said, “What’s up guys! I’m at Target. Thank you for your donations and look at all the stuff we got.”
He was able to fill several shopping carts with food and a bottle of bleach to hand out to senior citizens. One of them responded saying, “Oh, thank you sweetie!”
In another video, Cavanaugh reminded people not to forget seniors, saying, “Don’t forget our senior citizens. They need to eat, too.”
On Thursday, Cavanaugh also helped feed 90 students in need. What a wonderful young man.
Cavanaugh had started a non-profit called “Cool and Dope,” with a mission to “eradicate all bullying and youth suicide through political and social action by his 18th birthday on Nov. 20, 2030.”
At only five-years-old, Cavanaugh became an anti-bullying activist when he was bullied to the point of having suicidal thoughts…at five! His mom encouraged him to try to overcome his experiences by starting something which would spread “positivity and love.” That led to Cool and Dope.
Cavanaugh has done a lot at such a young age. He has given a TEDX Youth Talk, convinced the city of Gaithersburg to dedicate Feb. 21 as Bullying Awareness Day, this in honor of an 8-year-old in Ohio, Gabriel Taye, who committed suicide due to bullying in 2017. He also got his county to designate October as Bullying Prevention Month, and this coming October he hopes to lead an anti-bullying rally in Washington, D.C.
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Meanwhile, in Sayreville, New Jersey, police officers have been busy with increased calls for service as our first responders are on the front lines of the coronavirus. They are also been busy going above and beyond for the residents of their town.
Under the direction of the department’s Community Outreach unit headed by Lt. James Novak, Sgts. Tom Sheehan, Brian Braile and Angela Maot have been delivering groceries and other essentials to vulnerable home-bound senior citizens this past week.
“We wanted to limit their exposure to the coronavirus,” Novak said.
The town had two confirmed cases of the virus among its citizens as of Thursday morning.
Earlier in the week, Novak said his unit was attempting to come up with a plan to help seniors. He said that they have been working with the borough’s Office on Aging for different options, including providing busing for senior citizens to go to the local Stop and Shop’s senior shopping hours in the early morning.
Novak however said that because “that was still three days away, these people had probably been in their houses for a week at this point. We needed to do something in the meantime.”
The police department last fall participated in a food drive in which they were able to make connections with local food pantries.
“I asked if they could provide us with some items, so we could put together these bags and they did—overwhelming support from them,” Novak said. “Our local ShopRite also gave us donations of a substantial amount of food and other products, though they couldn’t help us with the hours for seniors.”
The police department notified people via social media to help spread the word about the program. Knowing that many seniors may not necessarily be on line, other residents shared information with them.
The officers also set up a distribution at the local borough senior center, where seniors could come to pick up a bag of groceries from the officers’ patrol cars behind the building. Novak said that 60 to 70 seniors took advantage of the program.
Afterwards, officers went door to door to deliver to about 20 more seniors. The officers planned to make more deliveries on Thursday.
“They were so grateful,” Novak said. “Seniors are on limited incomes to begin with for the most part. A bag of groceries is always appreciated but especially now. Their faces when they answer the door—always a smile.”
Police say that they will continue the program on weekdays of having seniors picked up by buses at their homes in the morning. For those unable or hesitant to participate, officers will continue to deliver door-to-door.
“We are going to continue to work with the local food pantries and check in on the seniors that need this,” Novak said.
Lt. Novak also added that there has been overwhelming community support, but only officers will make deliveries for safety and health reasons.
“We want to limit their exposure,” he said. “The more you replenish the food banks, then we will be able to go there and get it. Don’t come to the police department. We need to keep our barrier there too, so we don’t become the infected, showing up at the seniors’ homes. We are trying to be as smart and as safe as we can while making sure they have their absolute necessities.”
There are still some very good people in the world, hoarders be damned.
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