Feeding Better Futures Scholar Program Finalist

We are so excited to finally be able to announce that Braeden is one of five national finalists for the General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholar Program. As a finalist he has an opportunity to win $50,000 for 3B Brae’s Brown Bags. 3B is a small nonprofit so this prize would go a very long way in helping us sustain our mission.

Packing a brown bag is simple, but ensuring that the food is healthy is not as simple due to affordability, accessibility and shelf life. Further, making sure those bags reach the people who need them most is a challenge, fortunately Braeden doesn’t turn away from challenges.

A wonderful video production team came out to Delaware to visit Brae’s school, Gauger-Cobbs in the Christina School District. They produced a video which includes interviews with students, Erica Young and Nhi Nhi Nguyen, Mrs. Kathy Bin-Yusif, educator, and an interview with both Braeden and myself. It includes a bag packing event in which Gauger-Cobbs Middle School students worked together to pack 60 bags of healthy food. They then took those bags home so they would have something to give should they see someone in need in their community. (We always encourage students to give bags with a parent or trusted adult and not on their own.)

The video shares a little bit about the 3B mission of improving nutritional security, in part by getting youth involved in the solution. Winning the contest would help us to reach and feed more people in need. It will be easier to grow our 3B Ripples program with schools and youth organization. We are also happy to assist with natural disaster relief across the country. 3B has been able to provide bags after wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding in several states.

We Need Your Help

Anyone can vote on the videos that were produced and we need YOUR help to get Braeden votes.

Learn more about the General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholar Program on their website: https://blog.generalmills.com/2018/04/5-students-changing-the-future-of-food-and-the-world/

3B relies solely on donations and youth grants to sustain our nonprofit, we do not receive federal or state funding.

Mazda USA helps us DriveForGood

mazdabagshipmentWhen my Mom saw we were running low on the brown bags we use for 3B, the kind with the handles, because they are more sturdy, she reached out to Mazda. It has been a few years since I won the Mazda Drive for Good contest, but the great news is that all the wonderful people at Mazda still take time to help our nonprofit.

When our friends at Mazda heard that we needed additional bags, they delivered more, a lot more! They had twenty boxes of 3B stamped brown bags delivered to us! Thank you to my Pop Pop for receiving the bags and getting them to our storage unit!

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Mazda Drive for Good® is an annual charitable program that allows Mazda to give back by helping those in need. For every test drive taken between November 21, 2016 and January 3, 2017, we pledged one hour of our time to a worthy cause in your community. We are continuously grateful for all Mazda does to help communities nationwide!

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We know Girl Scout Troops rock BUT WOW

Girl Scout Troops #537, #841, #67 and #472 know what it means to volunteer for service and they practiced this last week by packing 108 bags for moms and children at Mary’s House of Hope!

You can see a live video feed we took by looking at the bottom of this post.

I talked to them a little bit about Brae’s Brown Bags and then my Mom talked a lot, she just kept going and going.

Then we got down to the real fun, the service!

In the cafeteria of Leasure Elementary School we had a HUGE assembly line set up, it was multiple cafeteria tables.

I showed everyone that if you lay the water bottle down on it’s side in the bag first it will help to keep the bag balanced and make sure nothing gets crushed.

One More Thing

But something else you should know about this event is that the girls had other stations. One table had crafty things so they could write special notes of kindness to put in the bags. The table next to that station had cards to write thank you notes for soldiers. Seeing those extra stations made me think about how much the troops are doing to make positive change. They do a lot and it is really cool.

Thank you so much!

Thank You Delaware FFA #MakingADifferenceTogether

braes bags packedWe would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Delaware FFA for yet again choosing 3B Brae’s Brown Bags to be a service project during their statewide convention in Dover last week.

Their convention is meant to span three days. However, this year due to a snow storm, they ended up cramming LOT of activities into just one day!

Fortunately, they still made time to pack bags of healthy food for those in need in the Kent County area and we are incredibly grateful.

Amanda Powell, Executive Secretary of the Delaware FFA Association, let us know that the FFA students packed 270 bags. They have also already delivered 110 bags to the Salvation Army and 160 bags to Peoples Place both in Dover, Delaware. PLUS they plan on packing EVEN more bags in the near future!

Future Current Leaders

When Brae spoke at the Delaware FFA Convention last year he said, “I think it is safe to say that we all realize food insecurity is a problem, it’s a big problem. And it’s something that one person cannot fix alone. But when we all work together, I have learned we are pretty much unstoppable.”

The Delaware FFA students never cease to amaze us with their dedication and leadership. They are proof that when we all work together, we can make a big difference!

2018 Building a Healthier Future Summit #PHAsummit

It’s really awesome to be able to share information about this year’s “Building a Healthier Future Summit” and to let you know that myself and a few other amazing young people will be panelists during the event. I am honored and humbled to be part of a session with Amber Kelly of Cook with Amber, Haile Thomas of The Happy Organization and Braxton Young of Healthy Little Cooks. It’s even more awesome to know that our friend Tanya Steel will be moderating the panel.

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We will be discussing “Kids’ Secrets on Impacting Kids”, which I think will be a lot of fun, because I believe that age does not matter when it comes to making positive change in the world around you. And I have met a lot of young people who are doing just that! So I hope to see you in a couple months! Let’s help create a healthier future together!

See more about the speakers who will be attending and presenting at this event from May 2 through May 4 in Washington, DC by visiting the Summit Sessions page of their website.

Other speakers include:

and many, many more!summit-youtube

Feeding Better Futures with DoSomething.org and General Mills

To all my friends who are interested in hunger relief and food related issues. There are so many of us who want to help and have really awesome ideas, but maybe we’re not sure how to make them happen or who to tell. Which is okay, because with the Feeding Better Futures campaign you can become the changemaker you always knew that you were meant to be!

General Mills with the help of DoSomething.org is asking youth to give them their best ideas and let them know how you would like to implement them. They want to tackle hunger relief and sustainable agriculture. That means things like food deserts, food waste, water quality and conservation, pollinator health, and soil health and preservation.

square-crop-CYou’re probably learning about food waste, food supply and water conservation in school, so take that knowledge and apply it to a way you can help and then teach others to help. We have the power to make big changes in the world, so take the first step and apply.

To submit your idea to DoSomething.org for a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship you have until February 28, 2018.

You can send in your submissions to General Mills, Feeding Better Futures through Monday, March 5, 2018.

In June, a grand prize winner will receive $50,000, be introduced to an industry mentor and get busy prepping for Aspen Ideas Festival.

High Fives and Hugs to McVey Elementary School #3Bripples #the3bway

3B Ripple Student Chapters is definitely an amazing part of Brae’s Brown Bags.

We’re excited and incredibly proud to announce and share news about out newest chapter at McVey Elementary School in the Christina School District.

Not only did they pack bags of healthy snacks for children in need in their community, but they also added a special reading element to the mix.  They visited a neighborhood with bags AND books and read aloud to the children who participated. Amazing!

Ms. Kim Blevins, a teacher at McVey Elementary School shared a little bit about the experience and it made our hearts smile!

“The past two days have been soooo incredibly amazing. From the kids helping to pack the bags to yesterday’s Read and Feed night my heart is overwhelmed. The look on the children’s faces as they received the bags and the hugs from the mother’s giving the kids a small snack that they can’t afford was priceless.”


To all of the students, teachers and staff involved with the new 3B Ripple at McVey we appreciate you so much! You are awesome! Thank you!

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Cold snaps can be death sentences for the homeless

We recently read an article “Cold comfort: U.S. homeless shelters overwhelmed in brutal weather,” which shared how overwhelmed shelters are and not just in the US. For example, homeless are dying in places typically known for their warmth, like Texas.

Homelessness is on the rise in the United States, according to federal survey data released last month, which said 553,742 people lacked homes on a given night in 2017.

What most people probably are not aware of is that homelessness is very, very undercounted. In Delaware, for example, there is only one night a year in which the number of people on the streets are counted. This one night is called Point In Time (PIT). I don’t know if this is true across the country, but it is quite unnerving. Many homeless are transient, many homeless are not necessarily roofless. Many homeless youth are trafficked, receiving shelter for sex, yes even here in little ol’ Delaware. They will not appear in the head count of homeless people in the state. Hearing the number has grown nationwide, and yet is still significantly lower than actuality, well I find that unnerving.

The 2015 PIT Count in Delaware was conducted January 29, 2015. These people can be in shelters, motels paid by voucher or wandering the streets. On that date, 950 people were homeless in Delaware. Now this is what I know, the school district in which we live has a homelessness advocate who reported that their schools were dealing with 840 homeless families. How can one school district have 840 homeless families and yet the state’s PIT says there are 950 people homeless?

snowstormBack to cold spells… if we’re under counting, it makes sense that our shelters have waiting lists and are overwhelmed, right? Something to give thought, I suppose. Nobody should be left in the cold. When we provide people on the street with our 3B bags we include the names, locations and numbers to multiple shelters. We also let them know if it is a “code purple” night which means emergency sanctuary shelters are open to help them.

I think more needs to be done to understand this issue. We are helping with nutritional security and spreading awareness, but while the data is inaccurate, the respources given to foundations assisting will continue to be very low.

As the holidays are upon us

grinch“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

I say, “Merry Christmas.” You may say something else and I respect that, please enjoy, embrace and share your love for the holiday which YOU celebrate. Aren’t our holiday intentions all pretty similar? Winter holidays have much in common in that we celebrate love, life and light.

Winter is colder, darker, bleak, right? That’s why people bring evergreen trees into their home? Evergreen trees are a sign or symbol of everlasting life during a time of year during which much dies, especially in areas of colder climate.

christmas-givingAll of this being said, the point of this post is that no matter what holiday you may be celebrating, all of us can benefit from bringing life, love and light into each other’s lives. For Brae’s Brown Bags that means continuing to deliver bags of healthy food to those in need. To make sure we are able to donate handwarmers, socks, coats, gloves, etc. If you drive by bus stops in the morning, knowing how bitter cold it is outside, and you see a child waiting without a hat or without a coat, you have the ability to provide that child with something to keep them warm. If you’re not comfortable stopping and handing the child a coat, then bring gently used coats to your local schools. I promise you they will be used.

grandma-736004_960_720Plan time for your family to volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Write a letter to your mail person, the people who pick up your garbage or recycle. Bring a basket of fruit to your community firehouse or police troop. Send a care package overseas to troops who are away from home during the holidays. Visit a nursing home with your kids and bring books to read or pictures that they have colored.

sacredheartThis past weekend, Braeden, my Mom, Finn and Amelia (my two younger kids) took a trip out to Sacred Heart Parish in Chestertown, Maryland. Brae spoke with the group and they ended up packing 85 bags of healthy food, chapsticks, socks and handwarmers for those in need in their local community. It is always a beautiful activity to be a part of and it brought peace into my day.  This group was excited to hear from Brae and even more excited to be able to help! That is the best thing about Brae’s Brown Bags, it’s so easy to do and yet it packs a powerful punch.

There are so many ways we can warm hearts, shine light and celebrate life if only we take a moment to do so. When you pass someone during your travels, or even in the office hall, say Happy Holidays, or Merry Christmas, and then add on a compliment, a bit of kindness. This time of year is about sharing good will, so let’s practice just that.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, from all of us at 3B

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Billions of dollars to be cut from nutrition assistance programs

HelpfeedToday Patricia Beebe, President and CEO, of the Food Bank of Delaware wrote an editorial piece for The News Journal which I think you should read.

She wrote about what we already know about looming budget cuts, but explained how it will actually impact real people who work hard. We know how important nutritional security is, it isn’t just about how much food someone has or doesn’t have, but also about the quality of the food they have access to and how consistently they have access to it. Healthy food really impacts our lives in so many ways. If you can’t eat healthy then you won’t feel good, you won’t be able to do your best in anything, not at school or at work.

“Congress has just passed a budget resolution that proposes cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $150 billion dollars, more than 20 percent, over the next 10 years. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that this will either end benefit eligibility for millions of families or drastically reduce the number of SNAP dollars available to the millions of families, seniors and people with disabilities who rely on the program to meet their nutritional needs.”

Please take the time to read Patricia Beebe’s full article here:

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/11/02/lets-work-future-without-hunger-dialogue-delaware/823026001/