Stories of Service: Olivia Gilbert

Congratulations to Olivia Gilbert – winner of the 2020 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Youth Volunteer! You could say Olivia Gilbert has been volunteering all her life. When 13-year-old Olivia was just four years old she began sending care packages to her cousin, Drew’s, unit in Afghanistan. After Drew returned to the U.S. she began collecting food at her birthday parties for the Prince George Food Bank. In 2014, she began collecting food from her school and later expanded to collecting donations from her after school care organization and dance classmates.

Today she receives donations from family, friends, various organizations, six schools in Prince George County, and the Prince George County School Board office. She collects food items at the end of the school year to assist in preparing the food bank for the needs of the children during the summer break. Many students in Prince George County receive free breakfast and lunch during the school year so there is more demand on the food bank during the summer because school is not in session. To date she has collected more than 6,500 pounds of food!

Olivia also volunteers her time in the food bank several days a year — helping to distribute food, clothing and other items offered at the food bank. This gives her the opportunity to interact with those that are in need. Although she spends much of her time volunteering, Olivia also manages to maintain all A’s in her advanced classes. Finally, her commitment to collecting and delivering food for families year after year continues to be an inspiration to her peers — many of whom have also been motivated to serve themselves. Olivia is proof that, with love and commitment to others and yourself, there’s no such thing as too young to serve!

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