Helping to feed the hungry is a very important job

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.

Braeden Mannering with Mayor Polly Sierer at Jefferson Awards CeremonySince 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…

DSC_0220The 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.

Multimedia Design Challenge Winners' Wall
Multimedia Design Challenge Winners’ Wall

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. 11182304_957346807639319_5697334352616091189_nMy 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.

Now for some photos!

The 3B Thank You party and 5th grade

inflatable-obstacleOn Saturday, August 23rd if you came out for the 3B Summer Celebration at the Bear-Glasgow YMCA then I know you had a great time. My mom and my brother Finn and me all got there at 1pm. We set up and then my brother and me had a chance to test out the inflatable obstacle course from Inflatable’s R Fun. It was a lot of fun, I think I did it like 20 times. Maybe more.

3B-Rockstar-Planners-1024x634The event’s committee, my new friends, best ladies ever, Terry Mullan, Kim Turner, Caitlin Custer and Catrina Sharp were all there to help set up, too. We set up with 30 table cloths and duct tape. My Grandmom and Granpop Stephan brought balloons and paper lanterns. My Gram and Pop Pop helped with fruit strays and also with the duct tape.

We had give away prize items planned but we did not know that people were going to also bring prizes. So we had a table full of a lot of prizes. Everyone who came got two of those tickets to get prizes. We also said they could buy more tickets if they wanted and some people did that, too. People donated to 3B too even though I said it was a thank you event and not a fundraiser. People are just nice like that. Over $400 was donated by my friends in the community.

brae-buddy-senator-townsendWhen a lot of people had gotten to the party I did a speech. I’m getting better at them. I had my script and my Mom highlighted times for me to look up to remind me but I went off script and made people laugh sometimes. I decided to give out awards to special people. So Tony Attaway from the Ministry of Caring, he got an award because he has a big heart and he helps feed people and he came all the way down to my thank you celebration even after being very busy with work because he works every weekend, thank you TONY!senator-hall-long-braeden-celebration Senator Hall-Long, she got an award because she is helping be improve food recovery at the University of Delaware. Senator Townsend is my buddy, his award was most fun for me to give, I think of him as like my family. He makes me feel important. Let’s see, I gave an award to Alpha Phi Omega the UD Chapter and also to The Food Bank of Delaware, the Bear-Glasgow YMCA and Gals That Give. I also gave an award to my Great Grandparents, Bob and Rose Willey because they are very big fans and they love me and that makes me want to do good, too. 

friends-3b-celebrationI was happy to see that Senator Nicole Poore came to celebrate and also State Representative Valerie Longhurst came to celebrate which was very nice of them both. I have a good picture with them and I think I need to go on my Mom’s computer to get it. I will find it and post it here, they both were happy to see me.

Senator Carper didn’t come and Jeffry Gentry and Tanya Steel, but I will find a way to get them their awards because they are very important to me also.

We had food from Big Fish Grill in Glenn Mills, PA and we had the MooMobile there from the UDairy Creamery and I know everyone loved the ice cream plus I am pretty sure we ran out of sandwiches so they must have been good, too. Sponsors helped make the event possible and they included Willey Farms, Holman Moving Systems, Greg and Margie Mannering, Transportation Communications Union – Local Lodge 584, UDairy Creamery, Bear-Glasgow YMCA, Food Bank of Delaware, Gals that Gives and 93.7 WSTW. Our very pretty photographer that you might have seen around was the best Danielle Quigley. I can’t wait to see the pictures she took! I will post some on here when we get them.

My Mom asked me what my favorite part was and I definitely would say it was when I got to give out the awards. I got to call people to the stage and surprise them and it made me very happy and I think they were also very happy. I also hope everyone liked the goodie bags we gave out. I designed cool sunglasses and my Mom designed t-shirts and car magnets. I better see some 3B car magnets out there soon!

Well I don’t know about you but I could have used a little bit more Summer. A full week of all-day 5th grade is in store for me, but I did finish three days and then this weekend we do have an extra day off for Labor Day. So that is good.

My 5th grade teacher at Keene Elementary seems very nice. Her name is Mrs. Cameron. A lot of my friends are in my class. We already started reading a chapter book and also took a lot of tests and have homework. I like seeing my friends and I do like learning but it already seems like a lot. Maybe I just need to get back into the routine.

Well I hope everyone liked the celebration. I hope you know I do #3BThankYou for all you do to help 3B and also I hope everyone has a great back to school week.

Helping the Food Bank of Delaware

Braeden Mannering at Legislative HallToday I was back at Legislative Hall but this time it was to support and help the Food Bank of Delaware.

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.

Braeden Mannering at Legislative HallMy 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!

It’s been a long month in this last week

You might be thinking I haven’t been too busy since my last post was over a week ago. Also, I haven’t written to say that 3B Brae’s Brown Bags did not make the top 5 for the LEAD 360 Challenge Jefferson Awards. But like my Mom said, all 27 finalists deserved to win the trip to Washington, DC for the national ceremony. So it’s not a bad thing and it’s still really cool that 3B was in the top 27 across the whole country.

Last Monday I participated in the University of Delaware’s Day of Service. It was on the part of campus called the South Green. I talked to people about Brae’s Brown Bags and what the bags do and why I am involved in the project. But I also got to learn about other projects. One of the things I did was to paint a tote bag for a placed called Supporting KIDDS. It’s a center for grieving children and families. So to cheer up the kids we made tote bags to give to them. People drew smiley faces and used bright colors to make the kids happy.

14244102712_15ed590954_zI also wrote my name on a petition to stop the use of the “R” word. The poster said “R-word | Spread the Word to End the Word.” My Mom explained to me what it means and why it should not be used anymore. It makes sense. If a word hurts people then why would you say it? I don’t know why we even need to sign a petition. She also told me what LGBTQ means, because I made keychains with a group called Haven. Haven is a student organization that is geared towards members of the LGBTQ community which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer. I didn’t know what that meant. I mean, I know what it means to be gay, but I didn’t know why you would need an organization to raise awareness and my Mom said it is because a lot of them time people treat you different if they think you are not normal. And she said sometimes people think you are not normal if you are gay or that people might think you are weird. I said that was really silly. I mean, you are what you are. It would be like if someone treated me different for having brown hair. Well, maybe that is not the same, but still, I liked making key chains with those students. They talked to me and asked me questions and it was fun. We also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which were to be delivered to the Newark Empowerment Center. My table was in between the PB&J table and the Haven table.

14079561710_81a50b0911_zA lot of people really liked my project and they were all very nice. I think the University of Delaware must be a good place to go to school.

So then on Tuesday I went to the Christina School District Board Meeting. I was given an Honor Roll award for my service and for having gotten the Governor’s Award. It was nice. Senator Bryan Townsend was there and he got an award, too. He even sat next to me AND he let me have his cheesecake. They gave him a slice because it was his birthday the day before. There were a lot of people at the board meeting. More than the last one I went to earlier in the school year. The woman who talked about me before I got my award, she said a lot of nice things, I felt really proud of myself.

And then on Thursday, Girl Scout Troop #34 donated a bunch of items and snacks and bags for Brae’s Brown Bags. In fact, I should be able to make a delivery to Family Promise, because they have taken work force bags from me before and thanks to Troop #34 I now have over 50 bags I can deliver that all have toiletry items in them. Thank you Troop #34 you girls are so nice and I really appreciate all you did.

This resolution commends and honors Braeden Quinn Mannering

Where do I even start?

Senator Townsend, Senator Poore and Me
Senator Townsend, Senator Poore and Me

If you follow Brae’s Brown Bags on Twitter or on Facebook then you have probably already heard all about my day at Legislative Hall on Thursday, May 1st. Wow! When we left I told my Mom it was one of the best days of my life, and I have met President Barack Obama. He was cool, too, but this was something unbelievable.

I read a book in school about Delaware and about Legislative Hall. I told my Mom when we sat down in the Senate Room that it looked just like the book. I waited while the session started and listened, but I was also nervous and thinking about what I would say. Senator Nicole Poore stood up and asked that Resolution #48 be read aloud in full. That’s when the guy (I can’t remember his name, it wasn’t Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn because I have met him before) in the front read a page all about me! Everyone looked at me! Then Senator Bryan Townsend stood up and he asked if I could have the privilege to take the floor and talk. I really hope Senator Townsend is proud of me. I really like him.

Here Representative Longhurst holds the microphone down for me as I address the House
Here Representative Longhurst holds the microphone down for me as I address the House

My Mom walked up to the front with me and at first it was confusing because I was too short to stand at the podium. Once we figured out where I could stand to talk my Mom sat back down. I think she was nervous, too.

I had my speech on note cards. My Mom practiced with me, she wrote down times for me to look up and she told me just to take my time.

I must have done a good job because everyone clapped and they stood up for me. I’m not sure I ever smiled so big or felt so proud of myself, not ever!

Some of the senators came up and shook my hand and gave donations to Brae’s Brown Bags right from their own pockets. This really surprised me and made me very happy.

I guess people really like what I said. I know my Mom cried, even though she heard me practice it before!

Then I was brought to a room where I was introduced to the House. Representative Valerie Longhurst introduced me but she said I was 9 years-old. I was 9 when I started Brae’s Brown Bags but I am 10 years old now. That’s okay I don’t know how old she is either, but I always guess younger, too.

Here I am in front of Legislative Hall
Here I am in front of Legislative Hall

So then I gave my speech to this room of people. They also clapped and gave me a standing ovation.

Somehow the afternoon got even more awesome and do you know why? Because I got to meet Governor Jack Markell in his office. I think I was probably really quiet, his office was really big. I wish I could have read my speech to him but I didn’t think about it. He let me sit at his desk in his big chair and my feet couldn’t touch the floor.

I think another thing that really made me happy is that I met a lot of people from the Food Bank of Delaware. I never met them before and it was nice to have them come to Legislative Hall to hear my ideas. They invited me to go with them later next month for a legislative day where they will be teaching about hunger. Hopefully I can do that, too.

One thing I am glad to say is that today is Friday and while I do like talking to people and helping people I am really happy the weekend is coming up!

Feeling like a rock star after the Sweet Frog fundraising event

Lilianna, Sweet Frog, Me and Senator Townsend
Lilianna, Sweet Frog, Me and Senator Townsend

We had a FULL HOUSE last night at Sweet Frog. There were people in every seat and standing. The Sweet Frog mascot came out for awhile and people from all over came to the store to buy frozen yogurt and support Brae’s Brown Bags even though it was super cold outside and we were expecting MORE SNOW! Yes, I have another two-hour delay this morning, so I can write to you!

Last night I really got to see how many people want to help the homeless and be part of a big change. It was so clear to me because so many people asked me questions and told me there were proud of me. Out of all the people who visited I have to say I most enjoyed talking with Senator Bryan Townsend and his fiance Lilianna. They were both really nice and said they are proud of me. They also think I’m really funny. Hahaha.

Senator Townsend asked if I would like to come talk to other officials in Dover, DE sometime soon and I think that would be a lot of fun. I don’t want to tell them what to do or anything I just think sometimes kids have really good ideas. I’m a kid and I made 3B Brae’s Brown Bags and it is helping a lot of people.

It’s like I say, kids don’t really need to find super heroes in comic books, even though that is fun. Kids can be their own super hero!

** 12:18 pm – Brae’s Mom here adding a screenshot of Senator Townsend’s Facebook page **

Senator Townsend posted some photos and wrote really nice things on Facebook.
Senator Townsend posted some photos and wrote really nice things on Facebook.

Making friends on Twitter

Every now and then I get special tweets from people and it makes me smile.

Twitter is still new to me, but I’m getting the hang of it and my Mom helps me a lot.

There were two tweets lately from people who made me feel good.

I thought I would share them with you here.

This one is from CWS Global:


And this one is from Senator Bryan Townsend:


If you have Twitter you can follow me by clicking on this bird!


Feeling happy!