We can all take cues from an extraordinary 8-year-old named Cavanaugh Bell who took the darkness and pain of being bullied and created the antibullying nonprofit Cool & Dope, which inspires us this Giving Tuesday. Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the organization’s name stands for Considering Others’ Obstacles in Life & Dish Out Positive Energy.
“I need your help to help others,” Bell says, hoping to spread kindness through inspiring others to give and perform selfless acts. During the pandemic, Bell decided to make care packages with groceries for those in need, starting with his grandmother and extending efforts to the most vulnerable people in his community: senior citizens.
Although Bell fell a bit short of his initial goal of more than 100 care packages, he made a huge impact in the long run of providing necessities to those in need. Thanks to his enthusiasm and selflessness, both evident in a video he created that called upon others to back his worthy cause, people from around the world answered with generosity and he launched the Love Is Greater Than COVID-19 Community Pantry. The philanthropic assistance continued, and his partnerships grew to include support from Hormel Foods and Conscious Alliance, a longtime hunger-relief partner based in Boulder, Colo.
“Cavanaugh has a story,” says Justin Levy, Conscious Alliance executive director. “He has a voice. He has a humor about him that’s infectious. At eight years old, [he’s] starting to understand what his superpower is because of challenges he faced at a very young age.”
With the help of his mother, Llacey Simmons, Bell provides food and other necessities to underserved communities outside of his home base, including children and their families on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Earlier this year, he decided he wanted to help the residents of Pine Ridge Reservation after a vacation to South Dakota. Hormel Foods donated 90,000 pounds of SKIPPY® peanut butter products to Conscious Alliance, which directed the food to those in need in the Chicago area and Colorado’s Front Range Urban Corridor, and to children living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
SKIPPY® products were distributed via elementary schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation, going home with students before the schools’ spring break in late March/early April. When Conscious Alliance received the shipment of SKIPPY® products, Bell helped to load the trucks. Always ready to lend a hand, he was part of the effort to load more than 10,000 cases on box trucks headed for designated locations and to partners adept at food distribution.
“I’m just trying to help as many families as I can,” Bell says. His giving efforts continue to grow through his dedication and drive, and he has helped nearly 17,000 people to date — an astonishing 16,000 more people than his original goal. Bell’s boundless ambition and steadfast commitment prove you’re never too young to be a leader. He makes it clear that everyone can have a positive impact, despite their age.
“Cavanaugh will tell you our goal is to end bullying worldwide, but we truly believe we can do that by empowering kids to feel like they have a voice,” said Simmons. “We can’t create the next generation of leaders unless we give them those opportunities to be inspired and to put their work forward in the world.”
I’m just trying to help as many families as I can.Cavanaugh Bell
Hunger relief is a key component of the Hormel Foods corporate responsibility platform. The company has donated more than $50 million in cash and product donations over the last five years. In 2020, the company helped people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and continued its commitment to helping end hunger around the world by donating a total of $6.4 million to hunger-relief efforts, including products donated to food banks and disaster-relief efforts.
Hormel Foods is proud to partner with organizations such as Conscious Alliance to distribute its products to those in need. For those inspired to donate today, consider giving to Conscious Alliance and Cool & Dope.