More than three tons of food and nearly $7,500 were collected recently for Chester County families in need in the name of Bianca Roberson, a local teenager whose life was cut tragically short by an act of hate and gun violence in 2017.

Bianca Roberson died of a gunshot wound during a road rage incident on Route 100 in West Goshen Township. A judge sentenced the man who shot her, David Desper, to up to 40 years in prison.

On June 28, four years to the day that Bianca passed away, organizers and partners joined with Bianca’s mother and grandmother to personally deliver the donations to the Chester County Food Bank.

“This helps me breathe a little easier and stand a little taller today,” Bianca’s mother, Michelle Roberson, said. “Bianca put other people first. That is who she was and how she lived her life. I am so thankful for the community coming together and people remembering. People have not forgotten.”

The Daisies for Bianca: Spread the Love project, organized by Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the Bianca Nikol Merge with Mercy Foundation and the Chester County Food Bank organized the food drive.

Lauren Fosbenner said she was driven work with Mom’s Demand Action in the wake of the shooting that claimed Bianca’s life and inspired to help spearhead the Daisies for Bianca effort by the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

With little-to-no experience in fundraising or running a food drive, Daisies for Bianca set out to collect enough donations to provide 1,500 meals to the Chester County community. Generous supporters blew past that goal, donating enough to feed more than 10,000 families.

State Senator Carolyn Comitta  (D-Chester County) served as Roberson’s state representative at the time of the tragedy. She’s got to know her in the aftermath and said she was grateful to see the outpouring of community support.

“I’m grateful to be a part of Daisies for Bianca, grateful to live in a community where we remember each other and we care about each other, and grateful to learn more about Bianca and her life through efforts like this,” Comitta said. “The food drive technically ended in June, but residents are still showing up with donations. My staff members have had friends and neighbors drop off donations at their homes. People remember, they care, and they want to do something to help.”

Roberson currently works with Comitta’s office as a constituent services specialist and the office hosted a donation box and supported additional outreach efforts.

In addition to Comitta’s office, donation boxes were placed throughout the region, including West Goshen ShopRite, West Goshen Police, the three West Chester Area School high schools, the office of state Rep. Christina Sappey (D-Kennett Square), and others.

Volunteers also made and more than 1,000 daises from purple pipe cleaners – a symbol of love in Bianca’s favorite color –  and gave one to each person who made a donation.

“We are truly honored to have a part in remembering Bianca Nikol Roberson, said Andrea Youndt, CEO of the Chester County Food Bank.  “Bianca’s spirit of helping others lives on through the gift of service to our community.”