GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJZ) — An 8-year-old Maryland boy was honored with a governor’s citation for his work to help those in need during the coronavirus pandemic and his anti-bullying campaign.

Cavanaugh Bell, of Gaithersburg, has gotten national attention for his charitable efforts during the pandemic, including the founding of his own food bank.

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Gov. Larry Hogan recently video conferenced with Bell to surprise him with the honor.

“From the beginning of this pandemic, I have been talking about what it is like to be Maryland Strong, and I can’t think of anybody that is a better example,” said Governor Hogan. “Everything you have done to combat bullying, to spread positivity, and to what you have done to provide food and essentials to communities in need, it is really very special.”

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After experiencing bullying himself at the age of five, Bell launched an anti-bullying campaign in Jan. 2019.

He founded a nonprofit called “Cool and Dope” — an acronym for “considering others’ obstacles in life and dish out positive energy.” It’s mission is to end bullying worldwide by 2030.

Cavanaugh spent his own savings to make care packages with toiletries and groceries for seniors in his community at the start of the pandemic.

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Bell and his mother opened a food pantry called “Love is Greater than COVID-19.”

To date, he’s provided more than 10,000 people with food and critical COVID-19 supplies. He’s expanded his efforts beyond Maryland to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Cavanaugh said when he grows up he wants to be a lawmaker or a judge.

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CBS Baltimore Staff