Another successful kids’ hunger conference complete

Many people around the world just rush through the day to get it over with.

But I believe all of you in this room are of a different mindset.

You are doing what the others are NOT doing.

You are going about your day with a purpose.

And that purpose is to be a changemaker!

Braeden Mannering, during 2019 Coming Together Hunger Conference
Braeden Mannering providing welcome remarks at the beginning of the hunger conference.

We partnered with the Food Bank of Delaware and First Chance Delaware to co-host our 3rd bi-annual kids’ hunger conference which happened yesterday, April 4, 2019. (It was the 5th annual conference for adults). The event was a success and we are so excited to send over 100 letters to Delaware legislators written by the students who attended! These letters include their thoughts about hunger, food insecurity, service and advocacy. Hearing ideas from 1st through 8th graders is amazing. These students are not only intelligent, but also full of compassion!

We had volunteers from Christiana High School attend and help out with the gardening station of the day! They also showed off the Food Bank of Delaware’s mobile pantry in all its tie-dyed glory. These students are FFA members and their teacher Mr. Phipps shared them with us for the hunger conference. They were awesome!

The University of Delaware provided demos and educational activities at several stations. They taught about native bees and the importance of pollinators in relation to our food supply. The students learned about veggie regeneration, food waste, food recovery and the cost of nutritional food with a make-shift grocery store! Many thanks to the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources as well as Cooperative Extension!

Did you know there is a way to scan your skin and find out about your nutritional intake? Well there is and it is called a Veggie Meter, at least that is what the Food Bank calls it and they allowed the students and opportunity to check out what their vitamin levels look like.

Learning about the Food Bank of Delaware's Veggie Meter vitamin scanner

The Delaware Farm Bureau made the trip with their Ag Education Mobile Classroom. Laura Simpson said, “The Ag Lab is a traveling classroom that allows kids to see different aspects of agriculture and try it out for themselves.” It was a super fun addition to the conference and we are so grateful Ms. Simpson was able to attend!

Additionally, NFL Play 60 came out to the event and hosted a station about physical fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. They had their music playing and got the kids moving around. After they got their fitness activity in, the students then moved along to a station which included mindfulness and yoga. It’s so critical for our youth to learn about to decompress and unwind. Their brain health and emotional well being is vital and something they need to make time for every day.

Obviously, it wouldn’t be a 3B hunger conference without hearing about Brae’s Brown Bags and packing some bags of healthy food for those in need in our community. So every student had an opportunity to do just that and they were all excited to help! They helped to pack over 200 bags of healthy food for our homeless and low-income populations.

To end this eventful day we joined the adults, who were partaking in the Food Banks adult track of the conference, for lunch. It was during this time when we had the honor of listening to Jason Brown speak about leaving the NFL to become a farmer in North Carolina. His speech was inspirational and moving. Wise Farmer Brown spoke to all of us about the importance of service, empathy and heart. He said, “Never Stop Giving, Never Stop Loving, Never Stop Growing!” Many thanks to the American Dairy Association Northeast Branch for being a sponsor to the event and connecting us with Farmer Brown!

Wise Farmer, Jason Brown of First Fruits Farm
Wise Farmer, Jason Brown of First Fruits Farm

As always we want to thank every single person who came out to the conference as a participant and volunteer. We thank the many generous sponsors who helped to make this event possible. We truly believe there is no better way to learn and grow as individuals and as a community than through hands-on activity and meaningful opportunities.

Many, many thanks to all of you!

Record breaking frigid temperatures

dyav-wowsaadcyfWhat are they calling it? An arctic vortex? I don’t know what it is, I’m not a meteorologist, but it’s cold, it’s really cold. And it’s not just here in Delaware. Birmingham, Alabama got snow yesterday! The wind chill is -65 degrees in parts of the midwest. Even New Orleans, Louisiana is opening shelters for the homeless to keep them out of the cold, they call it their Citywide Freeze Plan. Cold, scary times.

While Delaware isn’t getting the snow and isn’t currently -50 degrees, it is still wicked cold and our hearts go out to all of our addressless friends who are struggling.

In Delaware, when the temperatures are frigid it is called a Code Purple. Essentially what this means is that emergency sanctuary locations will open for the homeless to stay overnight. The locations are typically open from 6 p.m to 6 a.m. and patrons receive a meal for dinner, our 3B bags when they leave and a bus ticket. It’s not enough, but it’s something and it’s currently all we can do. There are not enough shelters to hold all of our homeless.

An addressless man sitting on a yellow plastic bag in the snow.The emergency sanctuary locations are not homeless shelters. So when they open their doors, they are equipped with volunteers offer. The consistently awesome thing about Delawareans is that they are givers. I am humbled each and every day when I drop off 3B bags and see all of the kind people helping others. I am so grateful.

If you are unable to volunteer, please consider packing a bag of healthy food, water, chap stick, hand warmers, socks and hats and leaving it in your car. If you see someone  in need, then you will have something to give them. Please also consider calling 2-1-1 to find out where the nearest emergency sanctuary or shelter is located. There are often shuttles who will pick up the homeless and take them to the location. Local police will also take them to a shelter.

If you know people who need help and would like us to see what we can do please send an email. We will do our best. We hope you will as well.

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Don’t miss our hunger conference this Spring

Save the Date for the Hunger Conference

Participation is available through a school application process. Schools interested in applying to bring *students to the conference may fill out an online application by clicking here.

Applications are due January 25, 2019.

Agenda/Schedule information will be coming soon.

Station topics include:

Healthy food demonstration
Bee activity
Food waste/recovery
Fitness
Eating on a budget
Vegetable regeneration
Worms and butterfly garden
Brae’s Brown Bag packing
Letters to our Elected Officials
Yoga/Mindfulness

Paying Gratitude Forward

There is so much to be grateful for in life. I would love to know that people will be waking up feeling blessed, without complaints and full of a passion to live life to the fullest.

A few years ago Former First Lady Michelle Obama told me about the idea of paying it forward in life. Truly that is what Brae’s Brown Bags has been all about. I have been given so much and I am thankful. I know not everyone has been as blessed as I have been. I know not everyone is given the same opportunities or has the same kind of support system. But if I can lend a hand to someone in need then maybe someday they will be able to lend a hand as well.

The biggest realization I have had with Brae’s Brown Bags has been the ripple effects. The ripples are truly waves of people paying it forward in their lives. It’s an amazing thing. And I am so grateful to Michelle Obama for tossing the first pebble my way.

As we near Thanksgiving I’m suggesting you create a Thanksgiving Meal Kit if you have the means to do so. You can donate these kits to a local school or food pantry or you can give them to a family you know needs the help. Get a basket at a dollar store and purchase a turkey or see if you can obtain a gift certificate from a local meatery or deli. Include cranberry sauce, green beans, potatoes and perhaps a pumpkin pie in your basket.

There are so many ways to show gratitude, there are equally many ways to pay it forward, why not do both!?

Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at Brae’s Brown Bags!

Congratulations to YOU!

One thing we have learned in the last five years is that we have heroes all around us. And this year we want to make sure they are recognized.

We have emailed and are now announcing to you all of our “Every Day Local Heroes!” You can find out more about these amazing organizations and the people who make it happen by attending our 5th Annual 3B Summer Celebration on Saturday, August 18, 2018 at the Bear-Glasgow YMCA from 1pm to 4pm.

MEET OUR HEROES

Christiana Fire Company, Ladders 3, 6 and 12

Jacqueline Means (Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative)

Brooke Scuse (Teacher with Clayton Elementary School)

Skye Bunting (Girl Scouts of America – Service Unit #18 – Troop #34)

Stephanie Jaynes and Kathy Fintak (Girl Scout Troop #537)

Renee Yarrington (Diapers for DelMarVa)

Honorable Mentions

Nichole Eveland (Nichole nominated Renee and we are so touched by their story that we would like to honor both Nichole and Renee and share about their organization, Diapers for DelMarVa)

Braeden Mannering (nominated by his Gram, but does not qualify since it is his event and contest)

Local Heroes and Local Support – We Thank You

We are happy to report we have received a few “Every Day Hero” nominations. Emails will be going out to them to see if they can attend our event, along with their nominator. We’re so happy to see people choosing to share their appreciation to those who serve our community and provide inspiration or hope in times of need.

We would like to show appreciation and thanks to our sponsors who are helping to make this event possible!

Armstrong Relocations Moving Company (CHAMPION SPONSOR)

  • Greg and Margie Mannering
  • Bob and Rose Willey
  • John and Sue Ferenbach
  • Bob and Jamie Kahn
  • Dolores Thomas
  • Bobbie Willey Stump

And for many who are providing services:

  • Bear-Glasgow YMCA – for use of your outdoor pavilion
  • 93.7 WSTW – music, personality and prize wheel
  • Sam Lawson, logo design, 14-years-old
  • Cajun Sno
  • Party Business – face paint and airbrush tattoos

Please register for free here: https://3b-summer-celebration.eventbrite.com

Event registration is now open

We are happy to announce you may now register to attend our 5th Annual 3B Summer Celebration honoring “Every Day Heroes.”

We’re using Eventbrite again this year: https://3b-summer-celebration.eventbrite.com

Please pass along the link, if you received an email because you are on our email list then please forward the email to your friends and family.

We want to make sure this is our biggest, most awesome summer celebration yet. Not just because we’re celebrating five years, but because we are honoring Every Day Local Heroes!

Thank you for your support!

And please let us know if you or anyone you know is interested in sponsoring our event!



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!

drive-for-good-logo

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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