From Delaware to DC my State of the Union trip

That's me at the State of the Union
That’s me at the State of the Union

I went back to school today after being in Washington, DC for the last three days. I need to write a paper about my experience but I thought I’d try and tell a little bit on my blog first.

As you probably know, I had the honor of going to President Obama’s last State of the Union address. Why? Well because the First Lady Michelle Obama asked me to be her guest. I know! It was a really big surprise and I was very excited, I’m still very excited. It all happened so fast and to be honest with you I’m still trying to really think about it all.

At the White House in the room with the big Abraham Lincoln painting.
At the White House in the room with the big Abraham Lincoln painting.

There have been so many people who have started to follow me on social media and also here on my blog. I even got some emails from people. Most people have been so nice about everything. A lot of people have said they are inspired by what I am doing and they think I’m a special person. I have been called a hunger activist and a hunger warrior. Some people have said they felt bad because I looked so tired on TV at the State of the Union and I was, I mean I was very tired, but I was also very happy to be there. And what you didn’t get to see is that after the address I got to go in a different room and meet with the President. He shook my hand and he asked how the foundation is doing. The President and the First Lady both said they were inspired by me. I think that is very surprising. I mean I am proud of myself but I am really proud of them I really think they are great people and I am so happy I got to go to the White House again and got to go to the State of the Union.

I'm bottom right next to Mrs. Edith
I’m bottom right next to Mrs. Edith Childs

Some of the speech I didn’t really understand but there was also part where the President talked about how the US went to the moon. My Mom has said this to me before, she has said that people didn’t always believe they could go to the moon and they thought it was crazy. But then we did, we did go to the moon, we walked on the moon. I think he President was trying to say that impossible things are very possible. But I think he was also saying we need to believe in ourselves and in each other and work together. And I do that, all of us who volunteer with Brae’s Brown Bags or with other advocacy things we all do that every day. We just need more people to stand up for each other and be there for each other. We have to work together as a family and family doesn’t just have to be your Mom or your Dad it can be your friends and your neighbors. And I think he talked about equality. Because he says that everyone should be able to get a good education and have good health care and that everyone should feel they are heard.

Me with Senator Carper
Me with Senator Carper

Other really nice people I got to meet were Secretary Tom Vilsack who gave me his challenge coin and talked with me about Brae’s Brown Bags and told me about he started working with the USDA. Under Secretary Kevin Concannon who talked with me about the hunger conference I co-hosted. He had been a speaker at it but he never got to see the kid part of the conference so I filled him in. And also Senator Tom Carper who told me all about being in the Navy and his family and his favorite sandwich and even chickens. Did you know Sussex County in Delaware grows the most chickens in the whole country? He took me over to the Capitol Building and I got to eat lunch there. All of the staff at all of these places were super nice and welcoming.

Senator Kid Daily Show
Senator Kid Daily Show

And then a show called The Daily Show kind of made fun of the State of the Union because I guess that is what they do. I don’t really get it BUT they called me Senator Kid and when my Mom showed me a picture it was pretty funny. I admit it, I laughed. It was pretty funny to see him dance and sing Senator Kid with my tired face on the screen. Ohhhhh the stories I will be able to tell someday.

And I really like Washington, DC. It is fun. I like to walk places and you don’t really get a chance to do that in Delaware. I think I might move there someday.

For now, I’m going to finish playing an Xbox game with my brother and then go to bed, I have school in the morning.

Step right up, to the greatest event this summer


There is still time to RSVP for our 2nd Annual 3B Summer Celebration.

Bring your family and friends!

Come one and come all!

It’s going to be epic!

I can’t think of other things to say to explain that you really don’t want to miss this event. We are very grateful that the Bear-Glasgow YMCA has offered use of their outdoor space and pavilion. Super psyched that 93.7 WSTW will be there with their prize wheel and music! We have a HUGE obstacle course from Inflatables R’ Fun for the kids!

I have been working on my speech to give to the guests, because there is so much to say and so many people to thank, but also because we have big news to share about the future of 3B and we want you to be involved.

It makes me so happy to know tall we have accomplished and largely because of your help and your encouragement.

So bring the kids, bring your neighbors and COME ON DOWN! (Or up, depending on where you live) The first hundred people to attend will get a free snow cone from Kona Ice which is sugar-free and vitamin infused!

RSVP to attend at this link:

Many, many thanks to the following local groups, companies, community members who have donated silent auction and raffle items:

  • Deerfield Golf Club
  • Wawa
  • Panera Bread
  • UDairy Creamery
  • Adventure Aquarium
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Wilmington Blue Rocks
  • University of Delaware Blue Hens Athletics
  • Portrait Innovations
  • Starbucks courtesy of Gregory Mannering
  • National Liberty Museum
  • Nutrisystem
  • Senator Tom Carper

A letter from US Senator Tom Carper

braeden-mannering-tom-carperJust when you begin to feel a little sad that many people are not responding to your letters, you get a personal response from a great man. I met Senator Carper in July after winning the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and I really liked him. He seemed pretty cool. He does a lot to help people and he does a lot for Delaware.

He wrote me back and it made me feel really good so I wanted to share it with you. Many thanks to Senator Carper for personally responding to me about my 3B project! You should check it out and read what Senator Carper thinks are the “four keys to success” because he is very smart and what he says makes a lot of sense. I hope he knows that I think 3B is right and that I will never give up either!

You can read his reply to be below:

Dear Mr. Mannering:

Thank you for contacting me to share your efforts to increase access to healthy foods in Delaware. I was honored to meet you in July during your visit to Washington DC, and I appreciate you telling me more about your latest project, Brae’s Brown Bags.

Let me begin by saying that I am encouraged to hear from a young person who is passionate about addressing hunger in our community. As you may know, over 800 million people across the world are hungry, including an estimated 35 million Americans who struggle every day to put food on the table. One of the major challenges that we face, particularly in urban centers, is access to local, healthy foods. Having worked closely with the Food Bank of Delaware over the years, I certainly understand the importance of providing reasonable levels of funding for federal nutrition programs, which have proven to be vital lifelines for millions of low-income individuals and families. During my tenure in the U.S. Senate, I have consistently advocated for healthy eating habits and regular exercise. We should be doing all we can to support access to healthy foods and encourage people to eat more healthful foods as part of their daily diets.

I am impressed with the success of the 3B program. By packing brown bags full of healthy snacks and bottled water and handing them out of the neediest in the community, you are truly serving ‘the least of these’ in our state. During my tenure in public service, I have always sought to fulfill my four guiding principles on behalf of the people of Delaware. I call them the four keys to success. First, I ask myself, “What is the right thing to do?” Not “what is the easy thing to do” or the “expedient thing to do.” “What is the right thing to do?” Second, I try to focus on excellence in everything that I and the team that I lead undertake. I like to say, “If it isn’t perfect, make it better.” Third, I believe that we should treat others the way we would want them to treat us. And finally, when I know that I’m right, I never give up.

I wish you the best of luck as you continue in your efforts to improve access to healthy foods in Delaware. You are truly finding a way to “pay it forward,” as First Lady Michelle Obama suggested. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about other matters of importance to you. Keep up the good work!

With best personal regards, I am


Tom Carper
United States Senator

My Trip to The White House for the Kids’ State Dinner

Me autographing someone's book
Me autographing someone’s book

I know I need to update you about my trip to The White House but I have been very busy plus I have been tired.

Everyone has been asking me what my favorite part of the trip was and I have had different answers to tell because at first my favorite part was the train ride. After the train my Mom and I rode on the Metrorail and that was fun, too, except you have to get on and off very quickly. Then I liked getting to the hotel. We stayed at the Westin in Alexandria. There was a big, white plush robe on one of the beds. We went with the other winners to the Smithsonian Museum of American History and saw a food exhibit. Tanya Steel, the lady who came up with the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, says some of our recipes will be on display there in the Fall.

Me in front of The White House

Monday night we made toyrariums. They are these big pots of dirt with lots of different plants and we added toys to them. We added little dinosaurs, butterflies, insects, toadstools and stuff like that because the toyrariums are going to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

After making the toyrariums we had a pizza party. The line was really long to get the pizza. I decided to sign the cookbook for Mrs. Obama first. I autographed a lot of cookbooks at the hotel.

On Tuesday we woke up really early and ate a breakfast our of a red bag that said Health Lunchtime Challenge on it. Then we got on a big bus and headed to The White House.

At The White House we had to wait a long time on the bus before we could get off of it. We saw a black dog sniffing around the bus and my Mom said the dog was making sure everything was safe.

Me and Tanya Steel
Me and Tanya Steel

When we finally got to go in the White House we waited in a hallway for our turn to be announced. My Mom and I walked into a room and everyone was taking our picture and there were a lot of bright lights. I looked at my Mom and laughed.

We went into another room and were given drinks that were flavored waters like pineapple. We were allowed to go through the red room, blue room and green room and take pictures. I took a lot of pictures with my own camera, but mostly my pictures are of other pictures. Haha.

A man made all the kids balloon hats and animals. I was given a balloon hat that looked like a fruit bowl.

We were given lunchboxes to decorate and jump ropes.

Look close you can see Mrs. Obama's name tag at my table
Look close you can see Mrs. Obama’s name tag at my table

I met Sam Kass while I was waiting in the lobby area near the drinks. He is a White House chef and he advises the First Lady about Nutrition.

We waited in line to meet the First Lady Michelle Obama. She gave me a hug and said she was happy I came to see her. Someone took our picture together and it is supposed to be mailed to me.

The dinner was very exciting but really it was lunch it was just called the Kids’ State Dinner because that’s a cool name. I thought that was going to be my favorite part but then I saw who was sitting at our table for lunch and it was Mrs. Obama. I couldn’t believe I was going to be eating lunch at the same table at the First Lady.  And then my Mom showed me the name tag to my left and it was Tanya Steel. Wow!

I talked to the First Lady about the Delaware Mud Run, Jr. She asked me a lot of questions. She could not believe that I ran up hills and jumped in the mud. I told her I raised over $1,300 for the Delaware Leukemia Research Foundation. She was impressed with me.

The First Lady Michelle Obama
The First Lady Michelle Obama

And then a surprise person came and it was the President, Barack Obama. It was so cool! He even shook my hand and told me he was proud of me and thought he would like my Tortilla Bowl recipe.

I tried a lot of new foods like spring rolls and zucchini muffins and cauliflower pizza. Surprising, I liked the muffins and the pizza but not as much the spring rolls. There were also banana muffins and I liked them, too.

I can’t pick just one favorite moment, but if I had to it would be sitting at the table with the First Lady. She was very nice and she told us we could eat the food with our fingers.

braeden-mannering-tom-carperAfter the dinner we went back to the hotel. We ended up missing our appointment with Senator Carper, he is a Senator for Delaware. But my Mom was able to talk to his office and they understood we were at The White House and couldn’t just leave to go see him. He let us stop by before we got on our train to come home. He was very cool. I had my picture taken with him. He showed me his office and a lot of pictures of his family.

I will write more when I can, I hope you liked hearing about the trip.

And here is a link to download the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge 2013 Cookbook for free.