Local News

By Zach Armstrong

PRINCE GEORGE, Va -- Olivia Gilbert, a 13-year-old girl from Prince George County, was awarded by Gov. Ralph Northam on Nov. 2 for her volunteer work collecting over 6,500 pounds of food to fight hunger in the community.

Gilbert was among the winners of the 2020 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Awards as one of its ‘Outstanding Youth Volunteers’. The yearly program recognizes outstanding contributions of individual volunteers and organizations to the well-being of the Commonwealth and its people.

“People in every corner of the Commonwealth are rising to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis and volunteering their time, skills, and resources in this time of great need,” said Governor Northam in a release. “With these awards, we recognize the spirit of volunteerism and celebrate the exemplary service of individuals, groups, and organizations that have made significant contributions to their communities and the lives of their fellow Virginians.”

            Olivia started volunteering at four years old by sending care packages overseas to her cousin’s military unit before collecting food donations to focus on hunger issues closer to her. Gov. Northam’s official page called her “a force for fighting hunger in Prince George.” in a press release.

She has collected food from her school, after school care organization, dance classmates, family, friends, community organizations, six schools in Prince George County and the Prince George County School Board office. She also volunteers by distributing food and clothing among other items during her time in the local food bank.

“We are grateful for the critical support, collaboration, and dedication these volunteers have contributed to communities across the Commonwealth,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner S. Duke Storen in a press release. “It is through this spirit of ‘people helping people’ that families are empowered, communities thrive, and Virginia becomes a stronger place to live and work.”

 “These ten award winners represent the depth and breadth of volunteerism and community service of more than two million Virginians who freely give their time and talents each year,” said Chairman of the Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism Julie Strandlie in a press release. “The civic fabric of our communities is stronger because of their generosity. We offer our appreciation and gratitude to all Virginians who serve.”

The awards are organized by the Office on Volunteerism and Community Services in partnership with the Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism and the Virginia Service Foundation which are charged by the Governor to recognize Virginians who have contributed to the life and welfare of Virginia citizens.