Cavanaugh Bell is a seven year old activist that has used his time during the coronavirus pandemic to do everything from buy groceries for the elderly to delivering clean water to the people of Flint, Michigan. Today, Bell is focusing his time on a new movement called Love > COVID-19. The movement acts as a community pantry to help feed those in need during this time, specifically the elderly and other at-risk and immunocompromised people. We spoke with Cavanaugh Bell to discuss his plans with the movement, and why he wanted to start it in the first place.
Grit Daily: You had your own entrepreneurial adventures before LOVE > COVID-19. Share those.
Cavanaugh Bell: Yes, I go to speak to lawmakers to get them to pay more attention to bullying and youth suicide. I’ve gone to speak to the City Council (three times), the Montgomery County Council, the Montgomery County Public School school board, and I even had a video call with House of Representative Jaime Raskin to see how he can help me get more strict bullying prevention measures on a National level. I’ve also raised money to buy a semi-truck full of water for elderly residents in Flint, MI (I did that when I was 5 years old).
GD: What inspired you to start a nonprofit at 6 years old?
CB: I was bullied and I had a darkness inside of me. I didn’t want other kids to feel the same way I felt. And I was tired of being told that I was too little to volunteer, so I wanted to make a space where kids of all ages could give back to their communities to make the world a better place.
GD: What is LOVE > COVID-19 and how has it helped your community during the pandemic?
CB: Love is Greater than COVID-19 is the community pantry I started. I started it because my grandma is my best friend and after I made care packs for her, I saw that there were a lot more people that needed help. I was so fortunate to get donations from all over the world that I used that money to buy even more things to give to those who needed it most. Every weekend, we give out care packs to the elderly and to families in need.
Each care pack has hygiene products, toilet paper, paper towels, non-perishable foods, bread, fruit/veggies, and sometimes milk. We have helped (as of 5/10), 3,756 people which is about 810 households. It’s my goal to keep doing the pantry until the coronavirus ends because when I help people it really makes me feel beautiful inside.
GD: What celebrities do you look up to that inspire you to spread positivity and give back?
CB: I’m a big Logic fan. He’s from my city (Gaithersburg, MD) and I always like how his lyrics make you think. I listen to some of his songs with my dad. I also look up to Justin Bieber, too, and how he is just always about being positive and being himself.
GD: What was your favorite memory of being on NBC’s Little Big Shots this weekend?
CB: Meeting Melissa McCarthy was so cool. I’ve never met someone famous like that before and she was super friendly. I also liked going to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and seeing Michael Jackson’s star. That was really cool for me and my mom (she’s a big Michael Jackson fan).
GD: What can people do to help those in need during this time?
CB: I would say first you have to stay positive. When you’re positive, then you can help other people stay positive, too. Check on your neighbors and make sure they have what they need. And sometimes, even just leaving them some toilet paper, or snacks, or a nice note is always a good thing too. We have a lot of people that donate food to our pantry like cereal, pasta, or canned soups. So, I would say that people can do the same thing, look at what canned foods they have and they are not eating and donate them to a pantry or a homeless shelter. This is a very scary time and the more we can work together and spread love then we will get through this together.