Meeting UD resident advisors, and our younger student ripples, plus #givingtuesday

A couple weeks ago Braeden had an opportunity to meet several resident advisors from Residence Life and Housing at the University of Delaware. He was given the chance to talk with them about Brae’s Brown Bags and about how he thinks we can all really make big positive changes in the world if we work together. We had a bunch of technical glitches and my other two kids, Finn and Amelia, joined us for the outing which is not our typical program. However, I think the unusual moments made the evening all the more amazing.

This group of UD students were all incredibly kind people who treated all of us like we belonged. Which made it no surprise to hear Braeden tell them he hopes to go to the University of Delaware for college someday. We’ll see, as I know when he gets older he might start thinking about going somewhere not so close to home. Although as a Blue Hen alum myself of course I want him to go to UD.

The group packed 120 bags of healthy food for the Newark community. Many of the bags included new socks thanks to youth at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Odessa, Delaware who donated several bags of socks to 3B in late October.

Earlier in November Braeden also made a trip to The College School at the University of Delaware. He was able to talk with two sessions of kids who were a little bit younger than him, but he told them he started 3B when he was just 9 years old and they seemed pretty excited to hear that information. The kids asked a lot of great questions and wanted to know more about where Braeden has visited over the last few years. He let them know that aside from the Radio Disney Music Awards his other favorite visits have been at the White House.

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The College School kids are an official 3B Ripple. Last year they packed hundreds of bags for those in need in Newark and this year they plan to do more!

15138578_1273541539356243_8901357944699802637_oAnother one of our 3B Ripples with the Circle of Friends Daycare packed 70 bags of healthy food prior to their Thanksgiving break. This is our youngest group which just goes to show that you can make a difference even in diapers! Thank you so much to “Small Hands, Big Hearts” your ripple makes us very proud!

One more thing to let you know is that today is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a day to take a a break from the searching out the best deals for holiday shopping to support causes that means the most to you. With your support Brae’s Brown Bags has been able to grow a great deal since 2013 and we are so grateful! [ Donate to 3B ]

We have been able to visit dozens of schools and attend various forums and conferences so Braeden can share his ideas about nutritional security and what can be done to fix it. We have also been able to provide over 8,000 bags of healthy food to those in need in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Louisiana. We even were able to send 20 cases of clean water to Flint, Michigan during their water crisis.

With your help we will be able to continue supporting other hunger relief programs and organizations as well as do our best to educate youth about what they can do to make a difference. Thank you! #GivingTuesday

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https://www.facebook.com/donate/10154041557221570/?fundraiser_source=feed

Have a blessed day filled with light and laughter!

  • Christy, Brae’s Mom

 

3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration Follow-Up #betterlatethannever

brae-celebrationMy apologies for taking so long to write this post. Things get away from me and from Braeden sometimes.

During the celebration, Brae said something that I would like to share for those who were unable to attend.

“Some days it seems like all you hear is bad news. It doesn’t have to be that way. I have learned this over the last couple years. Because even when something bad happens it is up to us to turn it around, to shine the light in the darkness and step out of the shadow. … imagine all the good news we can create, imagine all the people we can help.” – Braeden Mannering, August 20, 2016

We had our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration the end of August and even though it was super hot out we had a pretty great turn out. Thank you to all who came out to the Bear-Glasgow YMCA for the event.

A big thanks to our sponsors this year: Bear-Glasgow YMCA, 93.7 WSTW, Crop Foundation (food and amazing culinary instructor Kip Poole and his talented students), UD Fresh to You (Michael Popovich and farm interns for providing veggies and fruit), UDairy Creamery, R.T. Graham (Keene art teacher from the Christina School District), Speakman, Inflatables R’ Fun, Love What You Boo, Del-One Federal Credit Union, Dover Federal Credit Union, Gerri and Bill Irish, Greg and Margie Mannering, Circle of Friends Daycare, Terri, Todd and Kristin Stephan, Transportation Communications Union IAM Unit #86, Stampin’ Up, Picaboo, Food for Thought Cards and Lynda Pusey with her Jamberry basket.

ladder12A very special thanks to Ladder 12 of the Christiana Fire Company for surprising us and bringing two trucks out to the event. The kids, and us grown ups, really loved seeing all of the firefighters and being able to climb up on the trucks to check out all the gadgets. All of you are so awesome. We thank you for your service each and every day!

Check out 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration by Kristin Stephan!

During this event I always have an opportunity to share Brae’s adventures through my eyes. Whereas he is always busy inspiring and encouraging other people to get involved, I’m sitting back and watching this amazing young person be a leader for our community. Brae is often called a young hero. He doesn’t look at himself that way, but I definitely do. Whereas some people spent their afternoon at a movie which could potentially gross millions of dollars, our friends, family and 3B supporters came out to a pavilion for delicious food, awesome giveaways and many of them packed bags for those in need.  Thank you to Sodexo employee Toni Ciccone for helping with the 3B bag packing station! And all of these things, hearing Brae talk, seeing people selflessly pack bags for those in need, being able to interact with the community and raise money for hunger relief, all of those things are absolutely priceless to me.

Seeing him up on stage addressing a group of people who came out to support him and our 3B cause is something I can’t accurately put into words for you. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to all of you for helping 3B grow and for encouraging Braeden to be the very special kid that he is. We truly live in such an amazing state!

Again, please do Check out 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration by Kristin Stephan!

Yes, she even snapped when I went down the water slide, which was super fun!

Once again, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your continued support!

August didn’t wind down, but Summer did

My Mom always says she wishes she had a 25th hour in the day. I know she would fill it with more things to do and then she would need a 26th and 27th hour. But I kinda understand what she is saying now. How do we fit everything in that we want to do? Have you ever played Minecraft? I could play it for four hours straight and not even know it. There should always be hours in the day when you can do something fun. But then I forget to do things like update my blog.

14124317_1191179457592452_5093569072657943110_oLOTS has happened.

August was busy!

Did I tell you I was able to talk to a class of high schoolers who were taking college level courses at UD over the Summer? I did. It was cool. Three of the students were from Africa. They asked great questions. They all helped me pack bags and I actually just got to send some of those 3B bags down to Louisiana so that is really cool. My Mom told me about the flooding in Louisiana and I wasn’t sure the bags would help, but they can’t hurt. She and my brother and sister also went out and bought a bunch of baby food and baby formula to send down to Louisiana with the bags, we sent 140 bags. I saw some of the picture of communities who lost everything because of the flooding and I just can’t believe it.

TedxWilmington_group_speakers-e1472135517934So I had been practicing and preparing for the Tedx Talk Wilmington Conference for months! And the day finally happened. I was nervous. Senator Coons was supposed to be the final speaker but his plans changed and so then I was the final speaker. And Mr. George, he was the host, he said he thinks Senator Coons changed his plans on purpose so he wouldn’t have to follow my talk. But it is really not easy to do those talks. I never used a power point before and I didn’t remember when to click. I forgot what I wanted to say and then I got really nervous and then the people listening started clapping for me. I felt so much better after that.

14066253_1187834541260277_6357352395584793986_oI feel like I made some new friends at the Tedx Talk. I really liked this guy they call Real Gumption. He is from the Virgin Islands. He talked with me at the rehearsal too and then I got to go talk to him after his talk because I think he did a really good job and I really like the idea of his glass bottom boat. He had a big dream and he made it happen and I think that is what I like the most.

I liked the wiggle woman. Her name is Janine Driver. But she talked about how to help yourself from going nuts, like if someone is driving you nuts what can you do to keep your cool. It was so funny! She was a really great speaker.

Kaamilah Diabate was also really awesome with her poem and the Twin Poets with their poem, they really made me think and it was very sad because they talked about racism and it is something that my Mom and my stepdad have talked to me about a lot and it was good to hear from a younger person especially from her perspective. Kind of like that I also liked hearing from Ian Khan because he had a really crazy childhood compared to mine and the things he went through seemed pretty scary and I think about my life and how lucky I am. So I liked hearing about other people’s lives and their ideas. All of the speakers were really just really good. And even though it was a long day I am happy I was there.

Also this month was our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. We have a lot of photos to share and people to thank but I think my Mom is going to handle that post so make sure to check back soon because I am sure she will have a zillion pictures to share.

Oh and I started 7th grade on August 30, yesterday! Yes, back to school, no homework yet though!

How are you making history NOW? #historyNOW

Brae’s Brown Bags isn’t about fame and glory, but I have to admit, being able to go to The White House a few times and the Radio Disney Music Awards in the Spring and now having my story shown with the History Channel’s HistoryNOW is pretty awesome.

Hopefully though this means that a lot of other kids will see that it really doesn’t matter how old you are, that you can really make a big difference in the world. I’m not the only kid doing amazing things.

This world is a pretty awesome place filled with great people and we need to be happy to share our story and their story. Be the good, be the change, MAKE HISTORY NOW!

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Summer time high fives

13640783_860560587421752_4553159800088006036_oIt is hard to believe that Summer break from school is already halfway over. Let’s not think about that right now though. It’s still Summer time and we have a lot of fun things happening.

I have been to schools and a summer camp as well as my Gram and Pop and friend Laura. We have been giving out bags as part of the #SummerMeals program. For this I just really want youth to know how important it is for them to eat healthy, too. So they come to schools for lunch or dinner and they get a healthy meal, but taking a bag with them gives them a chance to reach for something healthy to eat at home, too.

13640922_1152379174805814_2165661344635176608_oAlso the Christiana Fire Company invited me over for hamburgers and hot dogs off the grill. They showed me around their station and I even learned that it is haunted! Maybe not, but it’s a cool story and it has been around for a long time. I am sure the walls could tell many stories. Chief Perillo and Captain Semonelle were very nice to me and my family. 13603277_1152379521472446_2500457531476419471_oThe fire company participated in a WaWa Hoagie Challenge recently and they raised money for a charity. Captain Semonelle decided he wanted to donate the money to Brae’s Brown Bags!!! That is so exciting! Also I decided I want to be a volunteer firefighter when I am older. I think I would really like to do that. They said I can start helping out after I turn 13 years old!

The Middletown Jazzercise Summer Camp and the Circle of Friends Daycare Ripple “Small Hands, Big Hearts” both helped pack and deliver LOTS of bags over the past couple of weeks. It is so much fun when I get to work with other kids. They are really good helpers and I like how excited they are to know they will be giving to people in need13690944_1158009850909413_6107354723130820813_o. 13615299_1153580788018986_1781115289723400908_nI couldn’t do all I do with Brae’s Brown Bags without the help of my family, friends and NEW friends I have been making a long the way. There were even girls who baked breads and cookies to raise money to buy the healthy snacks at the Jazzercise place. Isn’t that so nice!?

Also we are still planning for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. We’ve been getting sponsors but would still benefit from some raffle items. If anyone knows any local companies who can provide gift baskets or gift certificates it would be very helpful and appreciated. Check out our 3B Summer Celebration page for more information.

Thank you to WSTW, Bear-Glasgow YMCA, UDairy Creamery, The Crop Foundation, Del-One Federal Credit Union, Dover Federal Credit Union, Gerri and Bill Irish, Transportation Communications Union IAM Unit #86, Terri, Kristin and Todd Stephan and Greg and Margie Mannering for their donations and sponsorships thus far.

Summer camps and Summer meals #SummerMealsDE

stpaulsUMC-VBSLast week I was invited to talk at a vacation bible school at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Odessa, Delaware. They had a surf shack theme and so it was decorated pretty cool. My Mom and my sister came with me and my sister really liked singing and dancing with them. They are already doing a lot of great mission work at that Church and I am grateful they chose to work with Brae’s Brown Bags to do some more.

After talking with the whole group I was able to pack bags with them. They had collected a lot of different snack items before I even got there and I was shocked by all the bags we were able to pack. In total we packed 365 bags, it would have been 366 but one of the water bottles started leaking. Oops!

So that is a lot of bags! And we know they will be going to hundreds of people in need this Summer. They even said they are going to look into becoming an official 3B Ripple Student Chapter!

My Mom and me are still working very hard to plan the 3B Summer Celebration event. I’m coming up with cool ways to decorate and my Mom is figuring out what to do as giveaways and helping to get us sponsors. The event is less than 2 months away now! We have a lot of fun things planned and I hope to see all of you there.

We are starting to bring our bags to schools that are open for lunch over the Summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program, too. This week my Mom will be bringing bags to two elementary schools in Wilmington, Delaware during her lunch break. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under. You can find a summer meals site near where you live by going to their website Find Summer Meal Sites.

macysshopcauseAlso I am really happy about the summer camp I am attending which is teaching me steel drums. It’s a music camp at the University of Delaware. I started taking drum lessons at the Delaware Arts Conservatory a couple months ago and I have decided I really like drumming.

One more thing, our organization is part of Macy’s Shop for a Cause weekend event happening the last week of August. You can purchase a $5 shopping pass from us which raises money for 3B Brae’s Brown Bags and then the pass gives you 25% off at Macy’s all weekend long including on sale and clearance items! Please let us know if you would like one and we will find a way to give it to you.

It’s almost Summer, so much to smile about #TEDxWilmington

It’s not that I don’t like school. I mean I do like some school. But this week is my last week of 6th grade and I’m ready, I’m so ready for summer vacation! I was just inducted into the Junior National Honor Society at Gauger-Cobbs Middle School which is cool. Middle school wasn’t super easy but I made a lot of great new friends. There’s a couple people I play Minecraft online with sometimes and that’s a lot of fun for me. I’m ready for a break from school, for time to swim and have fun.

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2nd graders and me at St. Anne’s Episcopal School

So I wanted to share with you about the 2nd graders at St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Middletown, Delaware. They held a used book sale and made a profit of $1,500. They chose to donate this money to Brae’s Brown Bags! They worked together as a team. They did marketing, sales, accounting, communications, etc. They worked VERY hard and it shows in how much they were able to raise. I had a chance to quickly visit with some of them and hear what they did. They presented me with a check and I sat with them and we had a quick Q& A. They are some pretty incredible students and I’m honored they chose 3B as a cause they wanted to support.

tedxwilmingtonAlso, I’ll be giving a Tedx Talk in Wilmington this Summer and I’m feeling nervous. Over 100 people applied and they chose me to be one of the speakers. I will be talking about Brae’s Brown Bags but also just about some things I notice now that I am out and about and learning. I think it should be a really good talk, it’s called “A Boy, A Brown Bag and a Tidal Wave of Change.” I hope you can come see me and the other people who will be there speaking. There are some really great topics. You can get tickets on eventbrite.

In a couple weeks I’m going to a music camp at the University of Delaware. It’s a Steel Drum and Afro-Caribbean Drumming Camp. I’ve been taking drum lessons at the Delaware Arts Conservatory so I’m excited!

93.7 WSTW has confirmed they will be attending our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration and I’m so happy about that news!

As of this date we  have not yet received any sponsor applications for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. Please consider joining forces with 3B for what is our biggest and only annual  event to help share our mission with our community and raise funds to help keep us as self-sustained as possible.

 

Do More 24 and an EDR Trip #DoMore24DE

poppopEDRA huge shout out to my Gram and Pop Pop for going to the Emmanuel Dining Room on Sunday during our Memorial Day weekend break to bring 125 of our 3B bags to patrons of the soup kitchen. The children who were eating at the soup kitchen received books and we also had toiletry items available for many. My Pop Pop also helped to serve food from the kitchen during their visit.

thebagsWe’re so grateful for the Emmanuel Dining Room and the Ministry of Caring. They provide many services to those in need! I love my friends there Tony, Miss Mary and Dorine to name a few. They believe the poor should not be treated poorly and we agree!

Also, did you know that June 2, 2016 is Do More 24 Day? It’s very exciting, it’s a day of giving and in this case I’m participating in Do More 24 in Delaware!unspecified

This is an initiative which the United Way of Delaware and several sponsors are helping with today so that organizations who provide services to the community can all raise money together. Brae’s Brown Bags is completely sustained on donations and small grants Braeden receives. Without the support of family, friends and many kind people we have met around the country we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. If you believe in our mission of increasing access to healthy food in low-income and homeless populations please consider donating today. Otherwise there are over 190 other nonprofits participating today and they are also worthy of a donation!

For $24 we can provide at least 30 bags of healthy snack options which also include water. This summer we will be providing 3B bags to schools who participate in the USDA Summer Meals Program. These schools help to provide meals to students who ordinarily depend on school during the school year for the nutritional meals. Our bags are given out after someone eats a meal, they can take it to go so they have healthy snack options to eat at home.

Ever wonder how far a ripple can reach?

udLast week I got to talk with two different groups of people about Brae’s Brown Bags, food insecurity and service. First I talked with a group from the University of Delaware. They were having a service retreat which I think is a really great idea. I think every company should have a service retreat where they spend time out of their office or out of their warehouse and they go and they do something good.

The group were people from Student Services and Enrollment Management and after I talked with them for a little bit they packed 250 bags of healthy food for people in need. Some of them took bags home with them in case they see someone in need during their travels. The rest I was able to take him so I can bring them to a shelter or soup kitchen who needs them. So thank you very much to this group, I had a great time and I am thankful you invited me.

greenwood2The next day I got to visit Greenwood Elementary School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. A group of their 4th graders decided to start a 3B Ripple Student Chapter. A student named Josh Bernberg heard me talk at one of his Boys Scout meetings. And then he shared information with his classmates. They decided to name their 3B Ripple “Greenwood Strong” which I think is pretty awesome. So they were my 8th official ripple! And oh my goodness! They were so impressive! After we talked we ended up packing 358 bags of healthy food! Can you believe it!? We had a couple tables lined up with the supplies and once the students got the hang of it they packed the bags so fast!

The principal at Greenwood even donated 100 books to the cause! I also got to meet some of their Girls on the Run team and they were very excited to meet me which I have to admit was pretty cool.

Then this week we got an email from one of the middle schoolers who was there with their younger sibling. And she was so inspired that she said she wants to start a 3B Ripple at her middle school in Kennett! The ripple effect of Brae’s Brown Bags is something really unbelievable. I really can’t thank all of you enough!

Also I want to share I got invited to be a member of the Junior National Honor Society at my school Gauger-Cobbs Middle School!

I also want to let you know we are less than three months away from our 2016 3B Summer Celebration. You can find out more here! We are looking for sponsors!

Using Eventbrite for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration

Credit: RT Graham

Credit: RT Graham

We’re preparing our event page on Eventbrite again this year for the 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. Hoping to confirm our location this week.

We can confirm our theme though AND show you our event artwork created by the art teacher I had when I was at Keene Elementary. All of our materials this year will feature Mr. Graham’s artwork. Check it out on our Eventbrite page, although tickets are not yet available but hopefully will be soon and we will let you know on our social media accounts!

eventbritelogogradientv2Two years ago I created my own event it was a thank you event and it was for my foundation and even though it was a free event to attend we used Eventbrite to help plan and manage the event. The name of the event is 3B Summer Celebration and we will hold our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration on August 20, 2016. This year we do have a theme and it is a “Ripple Effect” because I have expanded my Brae’s Brown Bags to reach out into schools. By helping schools start their own 3B Ripple Student Chapters we are now activating youth to get involved in service while also expanding the reach of our program to low-income populations in communities outside or own. We will have a bag packing station at this event and we will give certificates to every student who attends as a representative of an official 3B chapter.

The 3B Summer Celebrations are awesome because everyone comes out to support a program which I started when I was 9 years old and I know the biggest reason Brae’s Brown Bags is successful is because we have so much encouragement from family, friends, schools, other non profits and legislators like Senator Bryan Townsend and Representative Paul Baumbach. We have used Eventbrite each year and will be again this year once we get our location confirmed. It’s great to get a big group of people together who are all interested in making a different and supporting a good cause. I think each year we get new people but we also get friends who first met at our first celebration in 2014 which is cool to see our guests reuniting.

Last year we tried a feature Eventbrite offers where even though our tickets are free we said if people donated any amount they would be guaranteed an event t-shirt. We are hoping this year that will be more successful for us especially since the artwork is one-of-a-kind and uniquely made for 3B. The past two events have been really fun. We had a silent auction and raffles which were fun but it’s definitely tricky figuring out things really far in advance because most places need at least three months to know if they can donate or sponsor you.

The best advice we can tell other people who are planning events is to not be shy about promoting it. Work with local radio stations and research event calendars that allow you to submit your event so that it shows up for people. We use social media and Eventbrite connects with our social media accounts to make this very easy. We can publish to our Facebook and Twitter accounts straight after we create the event on Eventbrite. This is very helpful so we don’t have to remember to do it in multiple locations.