PGCPS Students, Community Donates Hundreds of Pounds of Food to Benefit Prince George Food Bank

February 21, 2024
The communities of Middle Road Elementary School and Prince George High School partnered for a special act of kindness benefiting the Prince George Food Bank, hosting a drive that brought in hundreds of pounds of food to support the organization's mission of serving those facing food insecurity.
During February, Middle Road Elementary School physical education teacher Shawn Holt teamed up with Prince George High School and senior Olivia Gilbert to collect canned, dried, and boxed foods to help stock the food bank's shelves inside the Central Wellness Center along Prince George Drive. Throughout the month, students, parents, staff, and other generous individuals donated over 1,300 pounds of food at the two schools. 
Middle Road Elementary DonationMiddle Road Elementary School students and Prince George High School Senior Olivia Gilbert (second from right) join Food Lion Distribution Center driver Stanley Johnson, transportation manager Tammy Coleman, and operations director Heath Warren (back row) following their large donation of food benefiting the Prince George Food Bank on Wednesday, February 21, 2024. (PGCPS Photo)
Just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Food Lion arrived in the Middle Road Elementary School parking lot with a delivery of hundreds of boxes of macaroni and cheese, rice, and jars of peanut butter, unloaded by students and school staff with the help of Food Lion Distribution Center driver Stanley Johnson, transportation manager Tammy Coleman, and operations director Heath Warren. In addition, Fort Gregg-Adams showed their support for the food drive, delivering several trunk loads of food, further bolstering the scale of the drive's contributions. 
This drive is extra special for Olivia, who has been committed to community service since childhood. She has been collecting and donating food items to help the Prince George Food Bank since elementary school, donating thousands of pounds of food to the bank in that time. As graduation approaches later this spring for Olivia, the Prince George High School senior set a goal of donating 10,000 pounds during her time in school. Through this latest drive, she’s expecting to meet and exceed this goal, all to benefit the Prince George County community.
"She started sending care packages to her cousin, who was in the army, as a four-year-old. Once he came home, we wondered what we could do next, so we started collecting for the Prince George Food Bank," Olivia's mother, Wanda Gilbert, said. "Through the years, this community and the whole school division have contributed so much and enabled her to try to reach her goal of donating 10,000 pounds of food."
Middle Road Elementary Donation

Wanda Gilbert (left) joins her daughter and Prince George High School senior Olivia Gilbert (right) following Food Lion and Fort Gregg-Adams’ donation of dozens of pounds of food supporting the ongoing food drive to benefit the Prince George Food Bank. (PGCPS Photo)

Olivia also dedicated her time to volunteer at a food bank, supporting families in need by providing essential resources to help them make ends meet. She shared her experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing the need in the community firsthand.
"A couple of Tuesdays and Fridays, I volunteered at the Prince George Food Bank. Once COVID-19 hit, things really changed, and our donations went down," Olivia Gilbert recounted. "When I was volunteering after COVID-19, we would try to pack as many things as we could into a shopping cart to give to the families because they needed it. The food bank is so essential to families because they can only come on Tuesdays and Fridays for a whole week's worth of food and essentials, and sometimes, it's just not enough."
The food drive has also served as an engaging community service lesson for the next generation of Prince George High School students currently at Middle Road Elementary School, as Holt invited Olivia to speak to students about the drive and the importance of giving back.
Middle Road DonationService members from Fort Gregg-Adams deliver donated food items to the waiting hands of Middle Road Elementary School students on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, who helped stack and sort the items in the school's gymnasium during the school's food drive. (PGCPS Photo)
"I want to thank Mrs. Holt because, without her organizing this entire thing, I don't think we would have gotten as many donations as we have, especially from Fort Gregg-Adams and Food Lion," Olivia Gilbert said. "She's so important and special to everything happening here. I hope this experience sticks with the students, the desire to help people. It makes me so happy because they're so eager to get all the food out of the truck or help bring it to my car. Seeing them be so excited about giving back to the community is wonderful, and that makes me happy."
"If it weren't for the kindness of Middle Road Elementary School's community, she wouldn't have reached her goal of 10,000 pounds, which had been a goal for many years," Wanda Gilbert said. "They helped organize having Fort Gregg-Adams and Food Lion Distribution Center be part of this, and Mrs. Holt played a tremendous part in that with the amazing videos she sends weekly. When Shawn goes for something, she inspires people."
The Prince George Food Bank operates Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Central Wellness Center, located at 11023 Prince George Drive. 
To see more photos from Wednesday’s donation, visit the division’s Flickr channel at