A tidal wave of ripples

I’m home sick today. I started having a bad cough yesterday and then this morning I was just a coughing machine. But I wanted to be able to tell you some things.

Yesterday, I went to the Hotel DuPont and had lunch in their Gold Ballroom. It really is all gold colored inside and there are big lights and mirrors. I had three forks near my plate, two spoons and one knife. Can you believe it?

So I went there because I was invited to the lunch and I knew I was a finalist for the regional LEAD 360 Challenge award. They said at the lunch that a Jefferson Award is meant to be like a Nobel Prize for community service. The speakers all talked about really great people in Delaware who give back and who care about people and want to make a difference.

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Former Governor/State Representative, Mike Castle, shaking my hand

Mr. Mike Castle was the main speaker, he was very nice. But when the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Youth Service was announced they started out by saying, “This young man started his charity at the age of 9 years old, packing bags with healthy snacks to feed the hungry…” My Mom looked at me and I looked at her and she started to cry because we knew they were talking about me. I was so surprised!

My Mom was quoted when they were talking about Brae’s Brown Bags, “Christy says she sees the ripple effect that he has caused because of being one little pebble.” That was something she said that I really liked. When I started talking with Jefferson Awards people I told them about that quote. They remembered!

“He likes the idea that all kids can be pebbles. If they work together they can make ripples that can grow to tidal waves. One pebble at a time. One brown bag at a time.” (The he is me :D)

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Thank you to Emma Rider for this photo and for liking what I said

I got to go up on the stage and get a special medal. It’s really cool and very heavy, you wouldn’t think it would be so heavy, but it is.

I thanked everyone there for supporting and encouraging me. When I go to an event like this I think we are all really winners. Everyone in that room yesterday was part of a group, a school, a project doing good things, great things. I wouldn’t be where I am, 3B wouldn’t be what it is, without all of those people and their support.

Braeden with Omicron Alpha Upsilon (KON) Chapter

Braeden with Omicron Alpha Upsilon (KON) Chapter

Another thing that happened was on Sunday I had a bag packing event at the University of Delaware. The Omicron Alpha Upsilon (KON) Chapter donated TONS of healthy snacks. I brought the supplies for packing and the water. We packed 94 bags in RECORD time! They should help me every time I pack, they were really fast!

Conference-Save-the-Date-2015The Coming Together: Community Response to Hunger Conference is on May 4. We are still looking for volunteers but many, many thanks to the people who have already signed up. Weston Williams and Emma Rider are going to help me moderate the Public Town Hall which I’m excited about. Emma is a friend of mine who does a lot of public service all around the world. She is a National Jefferson Award winner! She has helped collect over 100,000 pairs of shoes to make money to donate to Water Step which is an organization that helps get countries clean water. She started working with Water Step at the age of 12 and she has collected over 5 tractor trailer loads of shoes!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day #gogreen

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!

Brae with a group from Fusion Fitness in Newark, DE

Brae with a group from Fusion Fitness in Newark, DE

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!

Delaware FFA State Convention

State of Delaware FFA Convention

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.

Townsend Elementary School

Talking with 3rd graders at Townsend Elementary School

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.

Braeden with a group of students at Carrie Downie Elementary

Braeden with a group of students at Carrie Downie Elementary

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.

Youth_Service_America_logoI 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.

One more thing. There is still more time for Delaware students 1st through 12th grade to enter the Multimedia Design Challenge for the Coming Together: Community Response to End Hunger conference. The deadline to enter is April 3, 2015.

Brae has some big news to share with you later this week or early next week so stay tuned!

– Christy

The weather has been SUBZERO cold

My mom told me this morning that if I didn’t wear layers and dress properly the cold weather would hurt my skin. Of course I didn’t believe her because when I went outside I wasn’t cold. But then she told me it was because I was dressed right. Moms!

imagesIt’s really cold. Like, really, really cold. The app on my phone said it was 2 degrees but with the wind it felt like -18 degrees.

We have been packing up 3B bags for the emergency shelters. I wish there was more I could do. I put hand warmers in the bags but that won’t help when it is this cold, at least not a lot. The Friendship House says, “Over the last two winters, the number of people seeking sanctuary on bitterly cold nights has dramatically grown and become more diverse.” You can donate to the Friendship House to help or you can volunteer.  For a current list and donation drop off options call 302-652-8133 for the Friendship House. You can also donate to 3B, we’ve been running out of hand warmers and food and buying them multiple times each week.

So a couple things to talk about. I don’t have school today because it is President’s Day but that doesn’t mean I won’t be busy.

This is me with Danielle Gletow

This is me with Danielle Gletow

Last weekend, my Mom and me, we went to Atlanta, Georgia for the Kids Are Heroes Youth Leadership Summit. I had a good time. I met a lot of people. Even a boy from India. There were hundreds of kids there all doing cool things. Some of them are business type things, like this boy who has an ice cream cart and sells ice cream. A lot of the people I talked with all do things like help to fight against bullying or helping to raise money for malaria or cancer or down syndrome. Oh and Danielle Gletow who is a CNN Hero and she helps grant wishes to foster kids with her foundation called One Simple Wish.

The airport lost my presentation. Luckily our hotel was near an Office Max. My Mom and me worked on creating a new tri-fold until 10pm the night before I was to present. I got green glitter everywhere. Really.

I gave a talk during the summit and I think I did well. My Mom recorded some of it. You can watch or listen on my YouTube page. There are some pictures too at the bottom of this post.

Also my project is one of the top 15 up for a national #LEAD360 Jefferson Award. Very exciting! There has been social voting where you can support Brae’s Brown Bags and the voting ends tonight at 8pm. Please vote for Brae’s Brown Bags :)

Then tonight I’m giving a presentation at the University of Delaware to the Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society. My Mom has class so she won’t be there but she’ll be in the same building. I think I’ll do good though. I like the students at UD they are always really nice.

We have a meeting with the Food Bank of Delaware on Wednesday about the upcoming regional hunger conference. We’re going to talk about the kid track. My friend Tanya Steel will be on the call. I am happy about that.

Coming Together Hunger Conference

Conference-Save-the-Date-2015

The Food Bank of Delaware, Brae’s Brown Bags and the Food Research and Action Center are proud to present Delaware’s third annual hunger conference. This year’s regional conference is entitled Coming Together: A Community Response to Hunger to reflect that it takes all of us – children, adults, nonprofits, government entities, businesses, faith-based organizations, educational institutions and others – working together to end hunger in our communities.

Our conference is scheduled for Monday, May 4, 2015 from 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (time may change slightly depending on speaker needs) at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware.

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. Planning is currently underway for the conference. A complete conference agenda will be released at a later date.

Braeden has developed a Multimedia Design Challenge for students 1st through 12th grade to participate in across Delaware to have an opportunity to attend the conference. Every public, private and charter school in Delaware has also received an application to be part of this conference in addition to receiving the design challenge to hand out to their students. The cost to the students who attend will be covered by the event hosts.

The cost for an adult to attend the full-day conference (price includes breakfast, lunch and sessions) is $40 (must register by April 3). After April 3, the price increases to $50. Click here to purchase tickets. (Sorry, but we cannot issue refunds)

For more information, please contact Kim Turner at kturner@fbd.org or (302) 444-8074.

Food recovery, hunger conferences and summits

Conference-Save-the-Date-2015My Mom and me met with people from the Food Bank on Thursday to talk a little bit more about the conference we’re all planning together. We have some more ideas on how to move forward and who to to invite. I would really like to invite Mario Batali and Gabby Douglas. I’m also going to work on creating a video invitation to send to the Kid President. I’ll let you know when I get it put together.

Then on Friday we met with Richard Rind, Director of Auxiliary Services at the University of Delaware and Sue Bogan who is the Director of Dining Services. My friend Jessica Stump joined us and so did Senator Bethany Hall-Long. We were meeting again to talk about how the University of Delaware should try and recover some food around campus to give to people in need. It isn’t really the dining halls, it’s the other food locations like Einstein Bagels or Starbucks who might have leftover food at the end of the day which, if not recovered, would be wasted. I’m hoping we can get the food to places who will be able to use it. It sounds like UD will be willing to work with me and my Mom, but we need a place to accept the food on a regular basis, and that seems to be the problem right now.

My Mom and me are flying to Atlanta, Georgia on Friday. I just know I will have a lot to share about the Kids Are Heroes Young Leaders’ Summit I’m attending. I am happy I’ll get to meet new people and share with them what I am doing with Brae’s Brown Bags and learn what they are doing in their communities. I can’t wait to meet the other “kid heroes.”

Fusion_LOGOOoooo and Fusion Fitness in Newark, DE is doing a fundraiser for Brae’s Brown Bags. I’m so happy they want to help out and also encourage people to not only be change makers in life but also to live healthy! They have held fundraisers for several different community organizations. Thank you Fusion Fitness!

And it has been SO COLD here in Delaware. I think it was 18 degrees this morning when we woke up for school and that wasn’t with the wind chill. There have been 15 or 16 code purples which means the nights are below 20 degrees. Really nice people volunteer to host sanctuary at their churches to allow people to come in out of the cold. I have been trying to get my 3B bags to these hosting sites as often as I can. It’s hard though sometimes I don’t have bags packed in time. I hope people like them when they get them and that they are helpful. Which reminds me, I need to tell my Mom we’re out of hand warmers. Again.

Polar vortex doesn’t scare us, we’re here to help

codepurpleWilmington, DE and Newark, DE have had code purple systems in place for years thanks to the Friendship House. Churches and a bunch of volunteers open sanctuary to the homeless to get off the street when temperatures drop below 20 degrees which has been happening all week in Delaware. Kent County began establishing this system for the season this year and I’m happy to hear that people in need have a place to go. For Code Purple Sanctuary locations in Kent County call 1-800-733-6816.

Today is a high of 20 degrees even in the daytime, right now as I’m typing this is is 9 degrees. The windchill is negative!

packing bagsThis week my family and me have packed up about 100 bags already to give out to the sanctuary locations. Last night my neighbors Barb and Sammy Lawson came over to help. Today my Mom will be bringing 25 bags and warm clothing to Calvary Baptist Church in Newark, DE on East Main Street because they are the code purple location today. My Mom has been bringing bags to locations this week during her lunch break since I’m in school.

The Newark Empowerment Center opens from 1pm to 4pm also to serve lunch to those in need.

I also have a flier of emergency shelters for Delaware and you can download it here.

If you are able to help people in need please take the time. Offer a hand to them, offer a smile, offer a 3B bag or pack up your very own. If you have extra winter weather clothing, put it in the car with you and if you see someone on the street you can give them the clothing and also let them know where they can go to seek sanctuary.

Thank you!

Happy New Year and some big plans for 2015

coming-in-2015You’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.

My Mom and me are flying to Atlanta, Georgia the first week of February so I can attend and speak at the Kids Business Expo. I’m actually a speaker for their Kids Are Heroes Youth Leadership Summit which is happening during the expo at a conference center there. It should be fun.

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.

Ending the year with a bang

3b-thank-youHi everyone, Braeden’s Mom here. I just wanted to write a quick post on behalf of Braeden and myself to thank all of our supporters! 2014 has been an incredible year and we could not have done it without your encouragement, kindness, help and dedication to 3B and our mission.

I’ve let Braeden know that he can have the rest of December off. We’re moving some speaking engagements around and into the new year so he can catch up on his studies and, well, you know, be 11.

Stepping in for him I have gained some new helpful volunteers. Sarah Vito and Helena Bush have helped enormously by making deliveries to new locations for us.

We have also received many donations from people all over! We wrote 21 thank you notes over the weekend! We still have more to write so if you haven’t received a thank you yet please be on the look out for one.

Over the last two weeks we have given out 200 scarves and hats to three different locations: Hope Dining Room, Sunday Breakfast Mission and Friendship House. We hope the items will help to keep people warm as the temperatures drop this winter. We also have sent out more bags and our new total is nearing 2,300 bags!

In the New Year we have some big plans! Braeden will be co-hosting the first ever hunger conference to include kids. He has been working with the Food Bank of Delaware on developing a kid track for the conference scheduled to happen on May 4th. We’re looking for possible speakers, panelists and demonstrators.

One of the coolest things about working with 3B and watching it evolve is that we have learned that all people, no matter their age, should be given the opportunity to speak up and share their ideas on how they can help better their community. This conference will bring the community of Delaware together, and perhaps further extend into neighboring states. Kids and adults will be able to mingle and learn from each other and I think the outcome will be incredible.

Can you imagine a world without hunger? Thanks to my son, Braeden, I CAN imagine this and it makes me smile so big!

As we get more information and continue to work out logistics of the conference we will keep all of your posted.

Thank you!

Brae’s Mom, Christy

A Holiday Greeting from the White House

It’s pretty cool to get a Christmas card from the White House.

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I got one last year and it popped up and the windows were shiny.

This year it was doors and you opened the door to see inside the White House. And I have been in that area of the White House before, but not at Christmas time.

I think it’s cool that it’s signed by everyone and even has paw prints for the dogs.

And at the White House website they have cool holiday things you can print out including recipes, wrapping paper and crafts. Click the image to the right to check them out.white-house-holiday

We will send the President and the First Lady a Christmas card from our family, too.

This time next week it will be Christmas Eve and I’m excited, especially to have a break from school!

And also Happy Hanukkah to all of you celebrating, I know it started last night!