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.

Related News

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

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.

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!

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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