Brae’s journey with 3B Brae’s Brown Bags inspired Dianna Wilson-Sirkovsky to write a story, which she titled “Just One Pebble: One Boy’s Quest to End Hunger.” She worked with a fabulous illustrator Sara Casilda and together they captured nine-year-old Braeden. It’s amazing to me, because now he is 20 years old. He’s still packing bags and delivering healthy snacks to people, but he’s a young man now. Through the book I feel I can now go back in time and see my Brae as he was when he was 9 years old and I love that.
The story is already published in multiple languages thanks to Clavis Publishing, but it is also hitting the airwaves via podcasts. Dianna shared the “Reading With Your Kids Podcast” with us and it brought tears to my eyes. As Brae’s Mom, of course I sometimes I feel biased about how compassionate he has always been. Hearing other people talk about him and hearing how he is still inspiring people, even after a decade of time, is just so moving.
Today is GivingTuesday, the motto for the day is “Everyone has something to give, and every act of generosity counts.” This is so true!
GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past nine years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
Whether you choose to donate money to your favorite charity or you choose to give your time by volunteering, the point is to choose kindness always. If you are able to give to 3B Brae’s Brown Bags this year, please know 100% of donations go to our mission. 3B provides homeless and low-income populations with access to healthy foods, clean water, and contact information for additional services that can aid them. Brae’s ongoing mission is not only to feed people today but to raise awareness about the problems associated with food insecurity. Through 3B we hope to help empower and inspire youth across the nation to become part of the solution.
Online donors will receive an automatic receipt via email from PayPal thanks to their Charity platform. The receipt you receive will list Brae’s Brown Bags Donation as the item.
Not only do we need your support, we need your help to spread the word. Share with those who you know support our mission. As always, we thank you for your commitment to 3B and thank you for your support of hunger relief, we could not do this without you!
Our EIN is 46-4307237. Your contribution is tax deductible.
The drive to Harrington, Delaware took a little over an hour. The weather was brisk, but beautiful and traffic was minimal. Driving from north Delaware to southern Delaware is such a treat, the open roads, blue skies and farm land bring me a sense of peace.
The 2022 Delaware FFA Convention took place at the Harrington Fairground this year. Today was their day of service and they chose to invite us down for a chat and a bag packing event.
This is the first time my 12-year-old, Finnegan Stephan, took a leading role in a 3B event. Today Finnegan took the mic and introduced his brother. He provided brief information about how 3B was formed and what we have accomplished over the last 9 years. I am so proud of him for conquering this fear. Several of the FFA students took time to give him fist bumps afterward.
Braeden spoke less about what 3B is and more about why it’s important to him. His talk was more somber than at previous events. Of course he hasn’t spoken in-person for two years due to COVID-19, so a lot has changed in his life. He is now 18 years old, he’s not the same young kid who put this all together. He has seen the dark side of working with homeless populations. Thankfully, he still has the same big heart.
Braeden went on to give examples of some of the people he has met over the years. He told their stories, he shared how they are good people who worked hard and things didn't end up going their way. I think it is critical for people to understand that there are vulnerable populations who need support and compassion rather than hard knocks. Humanizing the man or woman behind the tattered clothes and cardboard signs is important.
There were many helpers assisting with the bag packing today. Of course the majority were current FFA students from middle and high schools across the state. I’d like to say thank you to a student named Jasmine who showed interest in doing research to help us find a more environment friendly way to pack our bags to hopefully someday use less plastic water bottles!
We had a great deal of enthusiastic help from Jackson Sylvester, a former president of Delaware FFA, and a graduate of Lake Forest High School in Kent County, who is now the National FFA secretary.
There were also some FFA alums, like Kristin Cook, who helped us find our way around The Centre Ice Arena, a 49,000 square-foot facility that sits on the Harrington Fairgrounds.
Ultimately, this caring group of young FFA leaders packed nearly 250 Brae’s Brown Bags.
Amanda Powell, Executive Secretary of the Delaware FFA Association, let us know that the bags will be donated to People’s Place in Dover, Delaware. This organization offers a variety of services. One of which is called “Whatcoat Social Services” (Whatcoat) provides emergency shelter and transitional housing for low-income individuals and families.
Today is the start of Delaware’s statewide convention for FFA. They chose for their service project to be a bag packing with 3B Brae’s Brown Bags. Braeden and I will be heading to Harrington, Delaware to be part of this experience. We’re excited to be able to work with other youth again. This is our first big bag packing since the pandemic started two years ago!
Many thanks to the Delaware FFA for inviting us! We’ll post photos and talk about the event after we get home!
During the COVID19 pandemic we have had less of an opportunity to create bag packing events at schools. This means we have been doing more bag packing on our own as a family which is always fun to do, but it also means we are looking for ways to ensure schools and other youth organizations can still be involved.
We are grateful for the Delaware Girl Scout Troop #537 for taking the initiative to host a parking lot bag packing event with their group. We were happy to provide supplies and hope to Zoom Braeden in for an inspirational talk and a thank you to the group.
If your school or youth group would like to do a service project with 3B Brae’s Brown Bags it might still be possible. Our addressless friends and neighbors are still in need, perhaps now more than ever, and your help is priceless. Please feel free to reach out using our contact form so we can find the best way to continue working together to end hunger.
This summer we had plans to hold a 3B Summer Celebration. Our initial planning phases began prior to the coronavirus pandemic hitting the globe. And while we are hopeful that things will continue to improve as Delaware reopens in phases, there is still a great deal of information we do not know and cannot predict.
At this time, we are sad to share that we do not have a location at which we can host our celebration. In part, this is due to the number of people our events can potentially bring to one place in a short period of time. It is also understandable that locations for group events will ask organizations to have special event insurance.
Additionally, we’re not comfortable asking for event sponsorship from the local community and companies during this unprecedented time. We would rather your generous donations go to direct assistance of organizations who can immediately help those in need.
Now, the theme of our event was going to be “Spark Change.”
We still want you to embrace this theme. We must spark change and it must happen now. For those of you old enough to vote, please make sure you vote locally and nationally. For those of you not old enough to vote, please make sure you encourage the adults in your life to make sure they exercise that right. It is not only our responsibility as adults to vote in elections, but it is our obligation and we must take it seriously. We are seeing millions of people protesting, making their voice and their presence be heard. It’s an inspiring thing to see and we need to see the same numbers at the polls.
Be the spark that ignites the change we need to see in the world. You can do it. You are the ember. You are the light. No one else can do what you can do. And when we stand together, we can pave a path so bright that every dark corner is blinded by our unified strength.
It is overwhelming to see so many who are lost, but if we let our sparks shine then we can help them find the way. Sometimes the lost are scared, they are hurting, but we can dare to help them heal. We do not need to host a community event to make this happen.
We can spark change now. Today. Tomorrow. And beyond.
On June 11, 2020 the National Liberty Museum held a virtual celebration to recognize the students and schools who participated in the 2019-2020 Youth Heros Outreach Program. Braeden Mannering, founder of 3B Brae’s Brown Bags, delivered the keynote talk followed up by a Q&A session.
To the young heroes…
Your interest in wanting to learn more about social justice is something I wish we could bottle up, pour into the clouds, and then make it rain down onto the world. Beyond your desire to learn, is your passion for activating change and it is that characteristic that sets you apart and makes you extraordinary.
The Youth Heroes Outreach Program empowers students to speak up and take action against social injustices. Each year we are amazed at the number of participants and their passionate responses to important topics like gun violence, bullying, human trafficking, and homelessness to name a few.
As you know, we took a reprieve from the 3B Summer Celebration in 2019, because we hosted our 3rd Bi-Annual Kids’ Hunger Conference. So now it’s 2020 and it’s time to think about the next big celebration!
Our theme this year will be “Spark Change.”
The event will be held during the afternoon of Saturday, August 29, 2020.
If you are interested in sponsoring or helping out with the event please fill out this form and we will make sure to keep you posted as we iron out the details.
We would also like to share our 2019 Annual Report, which you can download and read at the following link.
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!
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.