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

3b-spiritwear

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/

Hurricane Help

texashelpRecently, we sent three big boxes of items down to Clear Lake Food Pantry at Clear Lake Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, to help them with their efforts in assisting those who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We sent 3B Brae’s Brown Bags with healthy food, clean water and messages of hope, but we also sent t-shirts, tooth brushes and things like that.

The letter in each bag included a message to express hope and let the receiver of the bag know that people all over the world are praying for Texas, even me and my family up in Delaware. Other places seeking to help Houston can be found in this NPR article: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/28/546745827/looking-to-help-those-affected-by-harvey-here-s-a-list

Soon after Harvey hit, as we all know, Irma then hit and destroyed whole islands in her path along with many many homes. We’re looking for places to assist in Florida and in the US Virgin Islands, but we realize there are many places still flooded, without power, and many down trees, so we’re playing it by ear and trying to figure out the best way to help.

In the meantime there are plenty of non-profits in Florida who are already there doing good work and helping people in need. It is suggested not to send things like clothing unless specifically asked especially since smaller places may not have a way to store things.

Here are some places currently helping aid people in Florida:

▪ The Miami Foundation

▪ The Greater Miami Jewish Federation

▪ The United Way of Miami

▪ The United Way of Broward

▪ Catholic Charities

▪ South Florida Muslim Federation

▪ Food for the Poor

▪ Hope South Florida

NPR also has an article about helping people  impacted by Hurricane Irma:
Governor Kenneth Mapp of the US Virgin Islands has expressed that while they are getting help, they need more. He asked that people who’d like to help log onto USVIrecovery.org.
…..
Friendly Reminder
Also, just as a reminder to people local in Delaware, Brae’s Brown Bags will be at the Read House and Gardens Farm 2 Fork event hosted by the Delaware Historical Society on Saturday, September 16th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy a family friendly backyard expo that brings together several community organizations to explore urban gardening and food access through fun, educational hands on activities. Bring donations for the Food Bank of Delaware!

Were you there, did you celebrate with us? #the3bway

On Saturday, August 19, 2017 at the Bear-Glasgow YMCA we held our 4th Annual 3B Summer Celebration.

Our theme was “Ohana” and while Braeden was giving his talk to all those in attendance he said, “Part of Hawaiian culture, ʻohana means family. In the movie Lilo says that Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

He continued, “Ohana means family. All of you are my family. Because if you needed something I would not leave you behind. I would not choose to forget about you. And this isn’t just about the people here for this very awesome event. This extends to any person. To all people.”

Running a non-profit is not easy. Planning a big event, also not easy, but when it all came together and everyone was celebrating, there was an ease about it, because EVERYONE helped, worked together, celebrated with each other. We had so many volunteers decorating, putting pieces of games together, hanging banners, organizing raffles, providing food and entertainment. I am so grateful to every single person. Drew Taylor with 93.7 WSTW was an amazing DJ for the event. He entertained our guests, got involved, came down off the stage and became a part of our 3B family. Jim Berman with the Grain on Main delivered a delicious menu using fresh produce from the University of Delaware farm (UD Fresh to You thank you Mike Popovich and all of your farm interns), complimented by fruit cut up and served by m parents and cookies made by my Aunt Bobbie. The YMCA let us use their outdoor space! All of these people gave their time, their service and their heart to helping make our event the best one yet!

To Laura Nash, Cathy Kinney, the Kim Family, Monica Moriak, the Cerasoli girls, my parents, my in-laws, and to my family who not only helped the day of but also had to put up with me while I planned and stressed and ran around for the last three months. I thank all of you, every single one of you. We couldn’t have done this without your support.

I’ll end with some of Brae’s final words.

“Take your hand and put it on your heart.

Okay. Now close your eyes. Breathe. And feeling it beating.

Maybe mine is beating faster than yours and maybe yours skips a beat sometimes. Now open your eyes. What I want you to do is to live your life in a way that let’s everyone else know that your heart is indeed beating.”

Please enjoy our full Flickr photo gallery, photos by the very awesome Monica Moriak!
https://flic.kr/s/aHsm6Won7g

And also, one last thanks to the event sponsors!

A huge shout out to our sponsors! Armstrong Relocation Company reached out to say they feel what Braeden is doing is amazing, they signed on at the Champion Sponsorship Level! So if you are going to be moving anytime soon please make sure you use their services! Terri, Todd and Kristin Stephan also sponsored the event at the Champion Sponsorship Level. Many, many thanks for their continued support!

Additionally, we would like to thank the National Liberty Museum, Bob and Rose Willey and Greg and Margie Mannering for signing on at the Supporter Level of sponsorship.

Interview Feature in Successful Farming

Hi everybody! We wanted to let you know that Brae was recently featured in a magazine called Successful Farming!

Gil Gullickson, Crops Technology Editor, for the magazine reached out earlier this Summer and spoke with Braeden about what he has been doing with Brae’s Brown Bags.

Mr. Gullickson originally heard Braeden speak at the 2016 Commodity Classic in March 2016 in New Orleans. Brae was invited to be one of the speakers for their Agvocacy Forum by Bayer CropScience.

braeden-successfulfarming
Click the image to download a PDF

You can view Brae’s presentation, speech and Q&A session from the 2016 Commodity Classic on YouTube.

We can’t calm down, we’re too excited!

Our 4th Annual 3B Summer Celebration is now only a couple days away! We’re super excited by all the community support we have been receiving and are so happy to know we’ll be celebrating with all of you soon!

The theme of the event, ‘Ohana, is even more important now than ever before. I can’t wait to tell you more when I see you on Saturday. For those wondering about details, I’ll be taking the stage between 2:15pm and 2:30 pm most likely. At least that’s what my Mom tells me.

ohana

While it’s too late to register to ensure a 3B swag bag, we do want you to know we will not be turning anyone away. All are welcome! For those who did register using the Event Brite platform, we thank you and we have your names printed out and ready to go. For those of you who registered early and donated to the event we also have your t-shirts ready to go, you’ll be able to get them when you pass by our registration table.

The Grain on Main‘s executive chef has sent over a menu for us to see and my Mom’s stomach immediately started growling. Seriously! And a couple of the dishes will be using fresh produce donated by the UD Fresh to You garden located on south campus at the University of Delaware. Many thanks again to 93.7 WSTW we’re so happy they will be attending our event for the fourth year in a row!

Another HUGE thanks to our sponsors! Armstrong Relocation Company,  the National Liberty Museum, Greg and Margie Mannering, Terri, Todd and Kristin Stephan, Bob and Rose Willey! We couldn’t make this happen without you! To Mcvey Elementary School PTA, Michele Fidance and Love What You Boo, Bobbie Willey Stump for the cookies, we appreciate all of your support as well!

To all who have said they would like to volunteer during our event. THANK YOU! We can’t wait to see you at the Bear-Glasgow YMCA on Saturday.

Kids are encouraged to wear clothes they don’t mind getting wet since we will have a water slide. We will have plenty to drink (non-alcoholic) to keep you hydrated! And don’t forget the Kona Ice Snow Cones!

For those of you excited about our raffles, as you should be, you’ll be able to buy raffle tickets between 1pm and 3pm, we’ll start calling out winning numbers after 3. We’ll be able to take cash and credit.

Social LEADia and Digital Leadership #SocialLEADia

We received a package in the mail from author Jennifer Casa-Todd who wrote the book “Social LEADia: Moving Students from Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership” and we are super excited to share this for two reasons.

  1. She donated a signed copy for to raffle off at our 4th Annual 3B Summer Celebration.
  2. Braeden will also be signing this particular copy, because he is one of the leaders featured in her book!

Thank you to Principal Timm from Carrie Downie Elementary in the Colonial School District for sharing a photo and a shout out on Twitter about this book, that was very cool!

prinicipaltimm

It is true that with all of the information online it can be hard to know what is real. My Mom drills that into my head because she says I need to know the sources of my information. And I think that is important. There is a lot of information on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and it can be a really great resource. We can learn a lot with everything we have at our fingertips. We can also learn things that are not true and we can spread bad information when that happens.

So for kids like me, if I am going to have a blog and I am going to be on social media then I want to make sure I am being a leader. I have emailed and tweeted to legislators, it has helped me connect to policy makers who can make a difference. It is possible. Be a voice for positive change. #SocialLEADia

And grown ups like our parents and our teachers can show us the best way to use things like this, too. My Mom is my friend on all my social media networks. I don’t think she would let me use them otherwise, haha.

Thank you to Jennifer Casa-Todd for including me in your book, I was very excited to get it in the mail. I am so glad that there are books like this because we really do have a lot of ways to advocate and empower and inspire each other, so we should use them.