#Hello2017

hello2017While Braeden and I ended 2016 with the flu and pneumonia, we were able to begin 2017 feeling MUCH better and hopeful for a bright new year. Braeden tweeted on New Years saying, “This year let your light shine! Make the choice to believe that 2017 is going to be amazing.” I absolutely love that sentiment. Way to go, Brae!

15665839_1312343395476057_7024601315622591815_n

Finn, Amelia and Tom Parkins from Calvary Baptist

My other two kids, Finn and Amelia, were able to help me deliver 3B bags to Calvary Baptist Church on Christmas Eve which has become an annual Christmas tradition for us since we started 3B. We provided bags for all of the homeless guests who partook in their Christmas Eve festivities. Thanks to my Aunt Mares we were also able to provide hats, scarves and gloves.

While Brae was sick my sweet Finn really stepped up. At first he didn’t want to leave his Google Santa Tracker, but when I explained that tracking the houses Santa stops at is fun to do. but not everyone has a house. So for those people we get to be Santa! He put on his Santa hat immediately and was ready to go!

It feels so good to be able to play Santa every now and then.

15591219_1308357692541294_6036422369308567983_o

One of the photos of some fantastic kids at MOT Charter (other photos are on our Facebook page)

MOT Charter invited Braeden to speak to the 2nd and 3rd graders a few days before Christmas (when he was still healthy). We are absolutely amazed and humbled to report they packed 426 bags! They also donated a car load of books and healthy snacks for us to use in making additional bags.

15621838_1308358225874574_8614250484935347454_n

The Power Of One

When we initially walked into the school one of the first things we saw was a showcase that featured Braeden! Of course I had him stand near it so I could take a picture, but honestly, normally you see trophies in cases like this and to see 3B featured felt pretty incredible. The showcase was titled “The Power of One” and it inside were pictures of Brae’s last visit to MOT Charter as well as quotes printed out from Brae’s talk. It definitely helped both of us to feel even more inspired that day. And to see  all the great work MOT Charter has done in helping to provide healthy food to those in need in their community via Our Daily Bread and with help from the Jefferson Awards Foundation.

Less than a week prior to the MOT Charter visit we received word that our 3B Ripple at Caravel Academy packed 131 bags! We were able to use some of those bags on Christmas Eve for those in need!

15493603_10210553134971919_4665655740479160652_o

3B Ripple – Caravel Cares Club (3C)

The generosity and compassion I see in these young students overwhelms me with joy. I know it means a great deal to Braeden as well. When he is invited to speak at a school he is always very excited to hear that the kids will ask him after his talk. And as his Mom, I love being able to see him interact with youth and empower them to be involved in what he is doing, but also to dream big with their own ideas on how they can help their community.

So we hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We also wish you a new year filled with happiness, love and laughter. Be the light in the world, be the change!

– Christy, Brae’s Mom

Helping people in Tennessee

15317992_1294447660598964_8130073004947340107_nWhen Braeden heard about the wildfires in Tennessee which left so many people homeless and heartbroken he immediately told me that he wanted to help them like we did with folks in Flint, Michigan and in Louisiana. So we created a care package which includes special 3B bags and sent it to Sevier County, Tennessee! We hope when it arrives that the bags will be given to people in need and that those people will find hope in them. Each bag has a note letting the recipient know there are people in Delaware praying for them.

Brae reached out to make sure the package was received. Three people from the University of Tennessee responded to let us know they were received and very much needed due to the extensive damage caused by the fires.

One of the emails said, “Braeden,

Thank you for thinking of those affected by the fires in Tennessee and sending the gift bags.  As Mr. Bruhin said, they were received and in fact we will be distributing them tomorrow to 4-H members and their families who have lost everything in the fires.  They arrived on Tuesday [last week], so the timing is perfect.  They are a great fit with some of the other gifts we are sharing with Sevier County 4-H members.

Thank you again for thinking of us and thank you for serving others in this way.

Glenn”

For those of you wondering how you can help please check out this CNN page:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/01/us/iyw-tennessee-wildfires-how-to-help/

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.

15003386_1261553977221666_7755744662297478276_o15025110_1261554017221662_6734195698865870898_o

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

cvjr-aoxiae4ir1

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!

Roundtrip in less than 48 hours

Braeden Mannering speaking to school in Port Charlotte, FloridaBraeden and I went to Port Charlotte, Florida a few days ago after being invited to come down and talk. Well, I should specify, Braeden was invited, I’m just his official PR and well, his Mom.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School reached out last year to see if Braeden could come out to talk to their students. We were finally able to make it down there for a talk on October 2nd. The staff and students at the school are wonderful people. Their hospitality and generosity were over the top and I am so grateful to have been able to meet them.

Principal Tonya Peters and Father John Fitch were very welcoming along with many other school and mission staff members including the lovely Rosemary and Elma. The teachers and students surprised us with a donation to 3B AND a birthday cake for Braeden since he will be having a birthday soon. Braeden was able to tour the school and he ultimately said he wished he could move there and attend the school after only spending a few hours with them.

We had dinner with a family on the harbor at Laishley Crab House. Oliver, Louisa and their son, 7th grader Lowell, were so wonderful. We had a great time walking around with them after dinner. They showed up some attractions and then took us for ice cream laser tag and go-carts. Braeden and Lowell had a great time together. I enjoyed taking it all in and getting to know our new friends.

We are excited to be able to extend the 3B Ripples Student Chapter program down to this school. Knowing that food insecurity is a major issue in Florida we know that Brae’s Brown Bags can definitely be of service to their community in Port Charlotte and the surrounding area.

DSC_0164We flew back to Delaware Saturday afternoon and were able to rest for the evening. Then we went to the 5K / Health Fair hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Vascular Nursing. Brae’s Brown Bags was a sponsor for the event. Braeden, my Mom (Gram) and Finnegan decided to participate in the 5K. My Mom and Braeden both received 2nd place in their age groups.

Our intern Gabby, and her boyfriend Felix, joined us for the event and helped spread the word about 3B among the other vendors. The weather was blustery to say the least but we still made the best of it.

Coming up, Brae will be speaking at Kirk Middle School on October 19th for something that could end up being pretty awesome involving a film crew. Kirk Middle School was our first official 3B Ripple so we’re pretty excited about being able to join them and talk with their students.

More photos to come…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day #gogreen

Hi everyone, Brae’s Mom here with some updates and thank yous!

First of all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Braeden and I have decided we’re going to do our part to “go green” with his Brae’s Brown Bags by adding a line to the letter he inserts in every bag which encourages the recipient to recycle the brown bag and the water bottle when they are done using them. This line will go on each inserted letter from this point forward once we have used all the inserts which are already printed in our 3B warehouse… also known as our basement.

Before I dive into some fun updates I would like to say thank you to the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity UD Chapter for your continued support in helping Brae to continue reaching more and more people. Thanks to your help during our last snow storm two weeks ago we were able to get 100 more bags packed and have 25 of those bags delivered to an emergency sanctuary in Newark when we were unable to get out and be there. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Brae with a group from Fusion Fitness in Newark, DE

Brae with a group from Fusion Fitness in Newark, DE

The Newark Fusion Fitness Center finished up their fitness challenge fundraiser and Braeden received a check for over $1,000 from their efforts on March 2. This is incredibly generous and I would like to share with you that Fusion Fitness does fundraising fitness challenges regularly to help fund small projects and non-profits who are aiding the local community. They not only promote healthy living but they also promote  being a good citizen which we think is fantastic!

Delaware FFA State Convention

State of Delaware FFA Convention

Braeden was invited to speak at the Delaware FFA State Convention in Dover on March 10. He was their speaker during their dinner ceremony. In addition the middle schoolers packed over 300 brown bags which were then delivered to shelters in Kent County. We are thankful Brae was invited to both learn more about FFA and also to share his insight on hunger relief, food insecurity and service. We are also grateful for the hundreds of bags packed and delivered on behalf of 3B to allow us to extend our reach further south in Delaware.

Townsend Elementary School

Talking with 3rd graders at Townsend Elementary School

Over the last month Braeden has had the opportunity to give school assemblies at both Carrie Downie Elementary School in the Colonial School District and Townsend Elementary School in the Appoquinimink School District. During these assemblies Braeden told his story about how Brae’s Brown Bags got started, why he feels it is important to get food to homeless and low-income populations and he also talked about being young leaders in their communities. Braeden encouraged the groups to think big and dream bigger. He told all the students that if they have a gift or have a talent they need to share it with the world. Braeden asked the kids to think about how they can help people around them and explained that sometimes the smallest gestures and ideas can have the biggest impacts.

Braeden with a group of students at Carrie Downie Elementary

Braeden with a group of students at Carrie Downie Elementary

I have to say as his Mom I’m always very proud to hear him talk to other young people. But I want to explain I’m not just proud because of Braeden, I am proud of all the young people he talks with, too. We have met great kids who have their own ideas on how they can reach out and help in their communities. As a Mom I find it very rewarding and exciting to see so many young faces looking inspired and excited. It’s not just Braeden who is out there being a change maker, there are many other kids who are making differences in the world, too.

Youth_Service_America_logoI am excited to let you know that Braeden has received another Global Youth Service Day grant from Youth Services of America in part from the Sodexo Foundation. This $400 grant will go towards the hunger conference he is co-hosting in May along with the Food Bank of Delaware and the Food Research Action Center.

One more thing. There is still more time for Delaware students 1st through 12th grade to enter the Multimedia Design Challenge for the Coming Together: Community Response to End Hunger conference. The deadline to enter is April 3, 2015.

Brae has some big news to share with you later this week or early next week so stay tuned!

– Christy

Ending the year with a bang

3b-thank-youHi everyone, Braeden’s Mom here. I just wanted to write a quick post on behalf of Braeden and myself to thank all of our supporters! 2014 has been an incredible year and we could not have done it without your encouragement, kindness, help and dedication to 3B and our mission.

I’ve let Braeden know that he can have the rest of December off. We’re moving some speaking engagements around and into the new year so he can catch up on his studies and, well, you know, be 11.

Stepping in for him I have gained some new helpful volunteers. Sarah Vito and Helena Bush have helped enormously by making deliveries to new locations for us.

We have also received many donations from people all over! We wrote 21 thank you notes over the weekend! We still have more to write so if you haven’t received a thank you yet please be on the look out for one.

Over the last two weeks we have given out 200 scarves and hats to three different locations: Hope Dining Room, Sunday Breakfast Mission and Friendship House. We hope the items will help to keep people warm as the temperatures drop this winter. We also have sent out more bags and our new total is nearing 2,300 bags!

In the New Year we have some big plans! Braeden will be co-hosting the first ever hunger conference to include kids. He has been working with the Food Bank of Delaware on developing a kid track for the conference scheduled to happen on May 4th. We’re looking for possible speakers, panelists and demonstrators.

One of the coolest things about working with 3B and watching it evolve is that we have learned that all people, no matter their age, should be given the opportunity to speak up and share their ideas on how they can help better their community. This conference will bring the community of Delaware together, and perhaps further extend into neighboring states. Kids and adults will be able to mingle and learn from each other and I think the outcome will be incredible.

Can you imagine a world without hunger? Thanks to my son, Braeden, I CAN imagine this and it makes me smile so big!

As we get more information and continue to work out logistics of the conference we will keep all of your posted.

Thank you!

Brae’s Mom, Christy

It’s Giving Tuesday

3B-givingTuesday

1 in 6 Americans Struggles with Hunger. 1 in 5 children experience food insecurity. Donate & Help End Hunger.

Donating to 3B is a way to help us continue and expand Brae’s Brown Bags. Each bag costs anywhere from $1 to $5 to create. This includes the food, water, labels, inserts, bags and in the case of specialties it would include a book, toiletry items or winter weather items. This does not include travel time to deliver the bags.

Also a friendly reminder, it is tax deductible when you donate to 3B. Braeden also sends out personalized thank yous to everyone who donates which is pretty cool.

Also if you shop on Amazon.com please use their Smile.Amazon.Com link and choose “3B Braes Brown Bags” as your charity, then a portion of your total purchase will go to 3B. 🙂

Thank you!

– Christy