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!

Were you watching NBC last week?

Braeden Mannering and Minnie Driver

Me and Minnie Driver

Before I even start, thank you to NBC Universal and thank you to Mazda USA for creating the #MazdaDrive4Good contest to bring attention to people in the nation who are doing good things in their communities. Thank you to actress/singer Minnie Driver for being part of the excitement. I have not been allowed to talk about this but now I can. I won the Drive 4 Good contest and my family got to attend and be featured on the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting last week and then I also got to be on the Today Show. Mazda is going to give $30,000 worth of goods and services to 3B Brae’s Brown Bags!

It all started the week before Thanksgiving when my Mom got the phone call from Ms. Rayna and Mr. Adam who work for NBC.

Me and Director Adam Reid

Me and Director Adam Reid

They came out to our house with like 40 people! There were lots of lights and cameras and they even had a motor home for actors and they had food for everyone.

Minnie Driver came to my house. I knew her because I watch her new show About A Boy but my Mom says she is in a lot of great movies, too. She’s really pretty and she’s really very nice. Did you know her real name is Amelia? That is my sister’s name, too.

My family and I with Al Roker and Jim O'Sullivan CEO of Mazda at the tree lighting

My family and I with Al Roker and Jim O’Sullivan CEO of Mazda at the tree lighting

The people from NBC brought Christmas decorations and we have two Christmas trees in our house now. People from Mazda were there and they were all really nice. It was a long day and it was a lot of work.

They filmed for a long time and then it got turned into a 90-second commercial which they showed on TV after introducing us in the tree lighting show on TV!

The tree lighting in New York was really cool. It was a long day but really nice people hung out with us. Ms. Meghan and Ms. Jessie and T. Cooper did our makeup and hair. The tree is HUGE! It’s 85-feet tall and the star on the top is bigger than me!

Al Roker interviewed me and my Mom on the Today Show. That also happened very fast and it was early in the morning so we were tired. I think I did good, my Mom said I could not have answered the questions better than I did which makes me feel good.

My Mom, me and Al Roker on the Today Show

My Mom, me and Al Roker on the Today Show

I can’t believe it!

Since all this happened I have had so many nice emails and Facebook messages and Tweets to my Twitter account. People are all wanting to help me and to help expand 3B to other places. We’re really going to be able to help more people! Isn’t it great! I just know that this means that 2015 is going to be an even better year and more people will get access to the healthy food they need and deserve!

I’m so happy! Thank you everyone! We really, really are going to change the world.

You know my Mom told Mr. Adam that one of the best things about all of 3B has been seeing it spread and help others. She says when you throw a pebble into the water the ripples can spread out all the way across a pond, she is humbled to see the ripple effect that 3B is causing and she’s so proud to know that I’m the pebble.

It’s getting to be that time of year

p1090694Holidays are fun. Thanksgiving is coming up and then Christmas. I am very excited because my family is going to Disney World for Thanksgiving. I have never been there. We are taking a plane. We will also stop into Universal Studios. It should be a lot of fun. I am excited to go on a plane again. My brother and sister have never been on a plane. I am wondering what we will do. I have seen pictures and heard things but I think it will be really cool.

There has been a lot going on in my world. Do you know what the word vague means? I did not. I do now. Vague means you can something a little bit about something, just enough, but then not everything. It’s mysterious! My step dad made up a word “Vague Book” on Facebook yesterday. Hahaha!

I was interviewed yesterday. It took a lot of work. I am VERY tired. I didn’t want to say anything wrong or mess up or anything, I get nervous. My little sister sat in a makeup chair. She picked pink blush. She didn’t need it though, but she smiled really big. My brother, Finn, had the makeup artist spike his hair up better.

I met some fun people. Really fun. AND I got a new laptop. It’s awesome! I played World of Warcraft and Minecraft on it and they weren’t slow or glitchy anymore. THANK YOU Mr. Adam!

Kernels of Kindness

University of Delaware 3B Lecture

University of Delaware lecture

Yesterday, I got to be a guest lecturer for an undergraduate course at the University of Delaware. The course is called HDFS 347 Program Development and Evaluation. I am not sure how many people were in the classroom but it was pretty full. Everyone was very nice and they clapped for me and I felt happy. They asked me a lot of questions and some of them I couldn’t answer but my Mom was there to help. I told them about how 3B got started and how we raise funds and where I would like to see 3B go which was fun to talk about. A lot of the students asked for our contact information and they want to help us and I am very happy about that.

Speaking at the College School

Talking at the College School

And then last week I was able to talk at the College School. These students were all younger, they ranged from 1st grade to 8th grade I think. They also were very nice. and asked a lot of questions. I think the best part of it was that a lot of them seemed to be inspired to do things to help the community also. I am happy when I can empower other kids. I think that is one of the best things about spreading awareness about not only 3B Brae’s Brown Bags but also about food insecurity and hunger relief.

For both of the times I talked I tried to really let everyone know that little acts of kindness can go a very long way. I hope they know that it is true!

Jolly Time Kernel of Kindness

Thank you Jolly Time

I also got a great big package in the mail from Jolly Time and they gave me lots of free popcorn coupons and a really cool popcorn bowl and some bags. Plus they gave me a $1,000 Kernels of Kindness Awards. I mean it was all very generous. Jolly Time was celebrating their 100 year anniversary and to celebrate they gave away 100 awards they called Kernels of Kindness for people who were doing good things in their communities. I read a lot of the other winners profiles and they were all pretty great.

Me and my brother at the voting place

Me and my crazy brother Finnegan

Then on Tuesday my Mom took me and my brother and sister to vote on Tuesday. This is the 3rd time I have gotten to go in a voting booth and help her push buttons for the people she wanted to vote for and I liked doing that. I have my sticker from the first time we voted for President Obama! I have it on the wall in my room. It’s super cool! I can’t wait until I can vote, I can’t believe you have to be 18 years old!

More things are coming up in the next few weeks. I’m meeting with Senator Bryan Townsend and the Food Bank of Delaware next week to discuss their 2015 Hunger Conference. And then I have the Top 10 Movers and Shakers award ceremony! It should be a fun week!

Falling into a rhythm and getting ready for spooks

Well, I’m almost through two months of 5th grade. I think I’m getting used to it now. There seems to be more homework. I hear that is kind of what happens with school though when you get older. My brother had homework over the weekend though and he’s only in kindergarten. I just needed to read.

This weekend I went to my dad’s house. I brought a bunch of bags that I had packed and we made a trip to the Emmanuel Dining Room. We had about 90 bags and we handed them all out. I’m going to need to think about how to make the next deliveries a little bit more special because I want to put something cool for Thanksgiving and Christmas in them. Last year I put in snowflake ornaments which were silver and glittery.

Some things coming up?

Well on November 13th I will be attending a dinner at the River Rock Kitchen because I was chosen one of North Delaware’s Top 10 Movers and Shakers. And I’m the only kid in the list! The nice people at northdelawherehappening.com are also going to be sending me questions to answer for an article they will be publishing. I think every winner will be featured which is pretty cool.

10711080_807064902670578_1460716767167421483_nI’m also excited to tell you that $275 were donated to Brae’s Brown Bags for my birthday. My Gram and Pop Pop, my Grandmom and Grandpop, my friend’s Erica and Dominic and a new friend I made at the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, her name is Jasmy, she’s from Kansas (and her Mom Sowjanya), they all donated money and I want them to 3b-halloweenknow it really means a lot to me. Also, Vice President Joe Biden sent me a very nice letter for my birthday. He said he was wishing me a happy birthday and that he was proud of me for helping people in need in Delaware. He even signed it!

There are some speaking events coming up which I am preparing for and this Wednesday I have one at the College School in Newark. And then next week on November 6th I’m going to be speaking to a class at the University of Delaware. They are learning about non-profits and the professor asked my Mom if I would want to be a guest speaker. That’s pretty cool actually, i wonder if I will know anyone. I have been making friends with UD students over the last year and they are all really friendly.

One thing I’m really excited about this week is that tomorrow night we’re having a movie fright night with the Junior Leader’s and Leader’s group at the YMCA. I don’t know what movie will be picked but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

And then Friday is Halloween! My family loves Halloween. My Mom and step dad both will be dressing up. My little sister and my brother Finn and then my other brother Michael will all have costumes. We watch Halloween movies every weekend from September through October. We have decorations all through our house inside and outside. My Mom is a complete Halloween crazy person. Her nails even have monsters on them. I’m going to be Steve from Minecraft, maybe “Super” Steve.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

It’s Giving Tuesday

3B-givingTuesday

1 in 6 Americans Struggles with Hunger. 1 in 5 children experience food insecurity. Donate & Help End Hunger.

Donating to 3B is a way to help us continue and expand Brae’s Brown Bags. Each bag costs anywhere from $1 to $5 to create. This includes the food, water, labels, inserts, bags and in the case of specialties it would include a book, toiletry items or winter weather items. This does not include travel time to deliver the bags.

Also a friendly reminder, it is tax deductible when you donate to 3B. Braeden also sends out personalized thank yous to everyone who donates which is pretty cool.

Also if you shop on Amazon.com please use their Smile.Amazon.Com link and choose “3B Braes Brown Bags” as your charity, then a portion of your total purchase will go to 3B. :)

Thank you!

- Christy

My Fresh Page Project could receive funding with your help

brae-fresh-pageMy Mom helped me create a Fresh Fund project page through the YMCA. We found out about the opportunity later in the game than other people, but we’re still pulling in a lot of votes thanks to all of you awesome people! But I need MUCH more votes to get in the lead so that Brae’s Brown Bags can receive a $5,000 grant towards our foundation. So if you don’t mind sharing this information and voting for me that would be a lot of help. (If you click the link above it’s only two more clicks. There is a button that says “Vote For This Project” just click)

Thank you very much!

The YMCA wants to recognize the role of volunteers and highlight that anyone, anywhere can make a significant impact in their community with a strong, inspiring idea. As part of its My Fresh Page Project, the Y will award a total of $20,000 to 10 individuals or groups with the most inspiring community improvement or service project ideas.

The Y’s My Fresh Page Project invites individuals across the country to submit their idea for a community improvement or service project to carry out in their hometown. Every day until October 24, visitors to the ymca.net/freshpage will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite idea.

Helping to spread kindness at Hillcrest Elementary

There have been groups that have asked me to come talk to them about Brae’s Brown Bags before. I have talked to the Delaware Collegiate 4-H, two different girl scout troops, to the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity and the Food Science club at the University of Delaware, and then there’s the time I talked with a group at the White House. I love saying that last one, really, how many people can say that?

I even recently had a chance to be on the Rachael Ray Show!

20141003_095942_resizedBut I’m not sure any of that could prepare me for talking to over 800 students at Hillcrest Elementary School in Baltimore County Maryland. These kids were all my age or younger. They were split into two big groups and sat on the floor of their cafeteria to hear me. I shared my presentation and I also talked a little bit about 3B, about food insecurity and about being helpers and dreaming big. I think they were all very happy to hear from me. At the end of each talk I went and stood in the middle of everyone and answered their questions. They had A LOT of questions!

One person asked me how much money I have raised. Someone else asked me if I would buy a factory with the money to pack more bags. That was an interesting questions, but I wouldn’t, I like packing them myself. A lot of people asked about the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. I hope they enter for 2015, they asked about what kind of food to make and I tried to give them some tips. People asked how I came up with the idea for 3B and I told them I saw a lot of homeless people in Washington, DC and in my hometown and that it really makes my heart hurt. 3B is a small way for me to be able to help give healthy food to people who need it.

20141003_102846_resizedThe school let me help with packing 250 bags. Each bag included one of my inserts and labels, but it also included kind words from 2nd graders and art work from kindergarteners. I really like the idea of drawing on the bags. I think maybe my brother and sister can help me do that near holidays. That’s a really fun idea and I think it will make people happy. These bags all went to a shelter near Hillcrest where they were needed.

There were three people there with cameras who wanted to interview me. That was a lot of work. I think I did good though.

My Mom showed me an article in the Baltimore Sun which published this morning.

You can read it here: Kindness campaign kicks off at Hillcrest Elementary

Thank you, Hillcrest for inviting me, listening to me and sharing your day with me. I love your school! You have a lot of great artists. I appreciate your donation and gifts too, you are very kind!

3B and Braeden included in published work

51CLJDJGwLLDo you remember when I wrote about Reverend Paul Mast? He had come to see me at my house because he was writing a book about his experience working with the homeless populations all over the world. He interviewed me and decided to include my story about Brae’s Brown Bags and also about some of my ideas related to hunger and homelessness. Well his book has now been published and you can buy it online. My interview and picture are in the book!

The book is called Street Sabbatical: Life Lessons for a Contemplative Beggar and we learned a little bit about it before it was published and it really is inspiring. Reverend Paul traveled the world and at times actually lived on the street and in shelters because he wanted to know what it felt like to live as a homeless person.

Reverend Mast wants to get rid of the word “homelessness” and he explains why in his book.

BanTheLabelHomeless.com and see how you can help to reverse the stigma of that label.

His personal website is: www.gospelsoftretreats.org

I want to thank Reverend Paul for including me, but also for going out and helping people in need every day. I’m very happy to know you and be your friend.