Today 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:
Before we get into the highlights of what has happened since our last update we want to make sure you have all registered for the Coming Together Hunger Conference. We are co-hosting with the Food Bank of Delaware and are SUPER excited about this year’s event! We are anticipating nearly 200 students to attend for the Kid Track, but we are hoping all of you will attend on the adult side. Don’t worry, even the adults will have a chance to see what the kids are doing throughout the day.
Coming Together will feature both an adult track and kids’ track, with opportunities for both groups to come together to identify solutions to issues related to hunger.
I promise you that you will leave feeling inspired and you will learn something. Plus I would like to see you out, because you know we can only end hunger if we do it together.
Okay so what have we been up to since our last post. A LOT! You know we say that every time. Haha.
There have been a few code purples called in Delaware. We thought our winter had been mild and really it has been but the last couple weeks of winter went out in style bringing us frigid temperatures snow and even an ice storm! It was beautiful, but it was also really bad news for my friends without addresses.
We had a table at the 1st Annual Christina School District Family Resource Fair which was a big success. Many people came out to see what the community has to offer and we heard that the New Castle County library exhibit handed out over 100 new library cards to people! That is VERY COOL! I couldn’t be there for the event so my family helped out. My brother and sister, Finn and Amelia, they set up the table and they were happy to be able to support 3B. Plus they got to eat pretzels and have their face painted!
Town Square Delaware wrote an article about me. Ms. Christy Fleming came to visit me at my house and she interviewed me. It was nice to meet her and I appreciate that she wanted to know more about Brae’s Brown Bags. Ms. Fleming’s article shares how 3B has grown, “3B Brae’s Brown Bags helps get healthy snacks to the homeless and the needy. But it takes lots of time and coordination, and Brae now also counts on donations by schoolmates and others who read his blog because the charity has gotten so big.”
I was able to be a speaker at the annual Delaware FFA Convention earlier this month. It was nice to see a room full of students who care about agriculture and who realize that food insecurity is a solvable problem. They packed almost 500 bags of healthy food for people in need. We brought some home and the rest remained in the Kent County area to help any shelters who might needs extra supplies.
I found out that I am a recipient of a 2017 Sodexo Foundation – STOP Hunger Youth Grant! This makes me very happy because it helps to keep 3B sustainable, but it also helps to show other kids that there are organizations out there who believe in them and believe that we are change makers. The Sodexo Foundation and STOP Hunger are empowering, they not only want to help end hunger but they also want to get kids involved and I am glad I can be one of those champions.
Last but definitely not least. I took a trip with my Mom up to New York to attend the Jefferson Awards Foundation annual gala at Gotham Hall. Yes, it sounds like something right out of Batman and yes I do think that is really cool. It was super fancy. There were a lot of incredible people there and all of them believe in public service, it was super inspiring to be a part of the event. I feel very honored that I was able to receive an activation award (Newark Post) on the same stage as Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez and the great musician/social activist Harry Belafonte. Plus, I encourage all of you to look into the national LEAD360 winner for 2017! Her name is Emma Stumpf and she creates art kits to give to patients in children’s hospitals. She knows what it is like to be stuck in the walls of a hospital for long periods of time as she is fighting cancer and has been for many years. I didn’t get to meet her at the event because she was in the hospital having just come through her 17th brain surgery. She is definitely a huge inspiration! I hope you are willing to help her activate this project and help it to put smiles on the faces of kids across the country. I think it will be fun to help her with this project!
We received word yesterday that our first 3B Ripple Student Chapter, Kirk Cougars Care, has been busy working to collect food for families for Thanksgiving!
In an email from the club mentor, Mrs. Jackie Kook, she let us know this about their 3B Ripple chapter, “On Wednesday the Food Bank picked up their first donation, which totaled 218 pounds of food items, including 3 frozen turkeys! Then on Thursday, Mr. Trego’s Technology classes made a donation that totaled 530 pounds, giving us a grand total of 748 pounds of food items donated!!”
We are so very thankful for Kirk Cougars Care at Kirk Middle School!!! Hooray! *Round of applause*
My blog readers, I’m sorry, I have been waiting too long to write to you. I will work on this. I get busy. Many of you have asked if I am feeling better and I would like to say that I am. My cough is all gone and I’m back in school catching up on things.
Since I wrote a lot has happened. The Jefferson Awards dinner award ceremony in Newark was held on April 30 at Home Grown. I couldn’t stay long because I still didn’t feel well but I did get to see a lot of other young people who live in the Newark area and who are doing really awesome things. I am very impressed by what everyone is doing and I would like to offer a very special thank you to the Mayor of Newark, Polly Sierer for choosing Brae’s Brown Bags as her top project. It really means a lot to me and I hope I can do more in Newark to help people in need.
“Everyone deserves someone who cares. Everyone deserves a friend and that’s easy to do. So pack up a brown bag before you go to work. That way if you see someone in need you will have something you can give them. One brown bag can make you a champion.” – Braeden Mannering
I had a Skype interview with STOP Hunger on May 1st. I think it went well. It was hard to remember to look into the web cam instead of into the computer monitor and the monitor kept showing up in my glasses. I had to take them off. I’ll tell you more about that soon. You’ll be getting a super awesome fun update about STOP Hunger and the Stephen J. Brady Foundation 🙂
But now the update you have all been waiting for…
The Coming Together: Community Response to Hunger Conference update!
To say that they event was a success is an understatement. (Okay that’s my Mom talking, but it’s true). We had nearly 200 kids attend from all across Delaware. There were 500 people at the conference and for the morning we all were in the same room learning together. One of the most eye opening moments of the group during the morning was when a student spoke during the town hall session and asked the legislators on the panel what they could do to help her family. She explained that she and her brothers and sisters don’t have food to eat every day.
We know that 1 in 5 kids are hungry. We know those numbers. We talk about that statistic. The morning of the hunger conference the number turned into the face of a real little girl right there in the room. It made a lot of people stop and think. It made me stop and think. To the panelists who answered questions from all of the kids, I thank you very much. I know it meant a lot to all of them and I wish we had more time to answer everyone’s questions. State Senator Bryan Townsend, State Senator Colin Bonini and Charlie Copeland, State Committee Chairman Delaware GOP many thanks.
We had many of the Multimedia Design Challenge winners in attendance. We hung up their posters and essay on a wall for everyone to see. They were very good and covered a bunch of different ideas about food waste, food insecurity and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Please check out the complete list of winners here.
We had a special video message from none other than the amazingly gifted Food Network Iron Chef and TV Host on The Chew, MARIO BATALI.
He said he was sad he couldn’t attend the conference but encouraged all the kids to continue raising awareness about food insecurity. He even congratulated me for coming up with the idea. Thank YOU Mario for sending us a video message, how cool is that!?
Most of the day was spent in a great big room called the Wilmington Room and this was the “Kid Track” of the conference. We had eight different activities which groups of students rotated through and participated in together. Most of the activities required a group effort. The Bear-Glasgow YMCA was there with their “Born to Move” program for youth fitness. The exercises were super fun! Even two Wilmington Police Officers joined in on the fun!
The Delaware Cooperative Extension Master Gardener’s taught kids about planting their own food, every kid left with a plant. Tanya Steel and Haile Thomas cooked healthy snacks for the kids at a healthy eating demo and taught them about how important it is for everyone to be able to eat healthy. My Gram and Pop took care of the 3B bag packing table and handed out shirts. My Grandmom Stephan and my friend Suzy from North DelaWHERE Happening worked with a Food Bank volunteer on the Money Pit activity. My Mom and me came up with that idea. Here’s our description of the game. “In a timed, interactive game designed by Braeden Mannering, himself, students will team up to dive into a money pit (ball pit) finding index cards with food items on them and then racing back to their table to create a nutritional meal out of their cards for under $1.25. As of 2015 (2011 statistics), the World Bank has estimated that there were just over 1 billion poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less.”
We also had volunteers Linda and Mike Jarrell facilitate a “Power of Words” activity where the kids wrote how they felt about certain hunger themed quotes. They wrote such cool things that we are going to turn it into a book and send it to the volunteer, legislators and schools who participated in the event. It’s going to be awesome! My Uncle Greg and volunteer Katie Hegedus worked on a “Rice Bowl” activity which taught kids about the 1 in 5 children are hungry statistic. Then my friend Jada Littman and two legislative aides from the State Senate helped kids draw pictures or write letters to share their feelings about food insecurity. The letters will be sent to the students representative in Dover, Delaware. We are still working on matching up the zipcodes of the kids to their representative.
I’d like to thank Juan Castellanos, our photographer, the Food Bank of Delaware, the Food Research Action Center and Bank of America along with Senator Townsend and Jessica Stump for all their hard work in helping to plan this great event.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
I 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.
You’ve already heard I want to create a National Kids Hunger Conference. (Knowing my Mom, and knowing me, it’s going to happen eventually) What you might not know is that I have been working on a conference for my home state of Delaware and it will be happening in 2015! Thanks to the Food Bank of Delaware and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) there will be a “Coming Together” hunger conference on May 4, 2015 and it will be the first ever hunger conference to include a track just for kids. I really could not be more happy about this, I really am so excited.
Schools in Delaware will get getting information this month to ask them if they would like to participate in this pilot conference. We are sending out invitations to hopefully get Vice President Joe Biden to be our keynote speaker. He is from Delaware after all. I also really want to get some celebrities involved but so far they haven’t responded to my tweets. And then my friend, Tanya Steel, who created the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, has already agreed to attend and help in anyway. I’m thinking she’d be perfect for a cooking demo for the kids.
Spring will be busy for me, but Winter isn’t over. I have talks planned, one tomorrow night with a boy scout group, 64th Brandywine in West Grove and one on the 14th with a 4-H group. I’m happy about getting back into the swing of things. But I won’t pretend it was nice to have a break in December.
Oh and I have been asked to speak at the Delaware FFA Convention this Spring in Dover. I think that is going to be great especially because usually when I go to Dover it is to visit Legislative Hall and talk with the Senate and the House so this will be super cool to talk to younger people and maybe even get some 3B bags down to Kent County.
Before I go, I just want to remind everyone in Delaware, when temperatures drop below 20 degrees here there are code purple sanctuaries which open up so homeless individuals have a safe haven for the night. I will update Facebook or my Mom will update Facebook when we hear the locations.
Last night I went to the Evening in the Garden at the University of Delaware. There is a garden for the community that the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources maintains and they donate produce to the Food Bank of Delaware. So all my Food Bank friends were there. I got to see Chad and Kim and everybody who went to Dover for the Food Bank Legislative day, even Pat Beebe. They are all so nice.
I also got to see the big garden and I was impressed. It was nice and I took a picture to show you. I tweeted it last night but I didn’t have time to write a blog post last night so you might have already seen it.
We had food made by the culinary students who are learning how to be chefs thanks to the Food Bank Culinary School. I had two slices of pound cake with a caramel sauce which isn’t very healthy but they were small slices and they were VERY good and I was standing when I ate them so I was working off the not so healthy parts.
Then my Mom bought raffle tickets and we actually won something! We won four tickets to see the football game tomorrow at UD against Delaware State and they gave us a parking pass, too! I can’t believe it and I am very excited that I will be able to go see a football game!
I talked with Chad Robinson for a little bit about the work I’d like to do at the University of Delaware with food recovery. He said he has heard about it and that UD has mentioned me in meetings recently which is really cool even if they aren’t so happy to be pushed by a 10-year-old.
For their legislative day they had their culinary graduates serve food in the senate hearing room. They had nine life-size cardboard cut outs of people they have helped with their programs. I helped hand out booklets that shared stories of those people. I also for to talk with some people.
My Mom sat in the senate balcony during the resolution that honored the Food Bank but I got to sit on the floor near Senator Bryan Townsend. I was with Pat Beebe and Chad Robinson and their friend Edward who told his story about how the Food Bank has helped him. He seemed like a nice person and I was surprised to hear that without the Food Bank he wasn’t getting enough to eat and he even lost a lot of weight. And then the Food Bank, one of their services, it helped him get the food he needed. That means a lot to me. I hope it means a lot to you.
We waited around and talked with people for awhile and then we had a quick photo with Governor Jack Markell. I think it must be very tiring to be Governor or to be a Senator because they never stop moving!
I had a fun time and I am happy I got to visit Legislative Hall again!
Well this morning I’m getting ready for a football game at the YMCA in Bear. Then as soon as I’m done I will be joining my Mom at the Townsend Hall in Newark. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is having their annual Ag Day. It’s really fun and we go every year but this year I’m exhibiting! 3B Brae’s Brown Bags will be sharing a tent with the Food Bank of Delaware out in front of Townsend Hall.
My Mom and I worked hard on my display. My Gram and PopPop helped figure out how to get it to be sturdy. We will also have brochures (my mom and stepdad folded and printed all night), magnets, pens, water bottles and t-shirts. For people who donate we will be able to give them a shirt. We’re thinking a $15 donation will get them a water bottle and a $25 donation will get them a t-shirt. I think that’s a really good deal! The bottles and shirts are really cool. I’ll be wearing one!
But what I really want to talk about before I head out if Wednesday night’s dinner celebration for the 2014 Governor’s Youth Service Awards. I was the youngest individual person to receive the award. I was nervous when we were waiting in line to go on stage. My family said you could not tell that I was nervous, but I really was.
I met Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn and he talked to me at my table for a little bit. He was pretty funny. Actually a lot of nice people introduced themselves to me and asked me about Brae’s Brown Bags. I felt pretty proud of myself. I also found out about a lot of other kids doing community service and volunteering places. There really are a lot of young people in Delaware doing awesome things. Everyone should be proud and should keep up the good work.
This was the first time I had been to the Dover Downs. The dinner was in the ballroom. It was really nice. They had slides playing while we ate. I was happy to see that the race I hosted at my school, Keene Elementary, was on one of the slides which rotated through while they were showing what kids did in Delaware for Global Youth Service Day!