Avondale Cub Scout Troop 136 rocks

We had so much fun with Cub Scout Troop 136 in Avondale, PA on Tuesday night. The scouts and their parents were all super nice and asked good questions after I talked with them about Brae’s Brown Bags and service. Of course they already know about the importance of service because that is an important part of being a scout.

Together we packed 130 bags of healthy food for the homeless in their hometown area. I’m so proud of them and thankful for their hard work. It was super cool to be invited to their meeting and they donated a lot of healthy food for the bags. I hope they realize they helped feed 130 people with their service!

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MLK Day is a National Day of Service #MLKDay

martin-luther-king-jr-day-a-day-on-not-a-day-offToday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and so it only makes sense that it is also a National Day of Service. Martin Luther King, Jr. did so much every day of his life to help others reach equality. I’d like to think on a smaller level I’m trying to help people be more equal, too. I think we should all have equal access to healthy food. It shouldn’t matter how much money you make, you should be able to eat healthy and live healthy.

So on this day of service my friends at the Jefferson Awards Foundation packed 58 bags which will be delivered to Friendship House’s Women’s Shelter on 7th & Orange Streets in Wilmington, Delaware. I’m very grateful to them, especially Michele Fidance who set it all up.

Then I got a chance to meet some teen leaders at the Boys & Girls Club Greater Newark. Ms. Amber invited me and my family to participate in their day of service. I brought some bags with me (18 to be exact) and we stopped by a few fire stations and by the troop 2 state police station. We thanked the fire fighters and officers for their service. I gave them bags to have on hand in case they meet someone in need. My brother and sister were excited to be part of this and they colored pictures to give them. My sister was especially happy to sit in a fire truck! She said, “Mom am I going to go save people now?”

So it was a day off of school but a day ON for service. We’ve prepared 25 more bags for a code purple tonight hosted at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. There was one last night, too, at Holy Family Church and my Mom delivered for me solo because I wasn’t home yet from my weekend with my dad.

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.

Happy New Year – 2016 will be awesome

We’re almost a week into the New Year and things are already going well. We really have some of the best helpers and supporters. I hope all of you had a great holiday. We did. I got some new games for my computer that I really like and some new clothes. My Mom made some really yummy cookies, like a lot of chocolate chip cookies! And we got to see all our family even by Uncle Greg and Aunt Kristin came home from Texas and Michigan.

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Me with my brother, sister and Mom on Christmas Eve at Calvary Baptist

On Christmas Eve my family and I brought our 3B bags to Calvary Baptist Church in Newark. They opened their doors for the night so homeless patrons could spend the night there if needed. When we got there to drop off our bags and a generous supply of handmade warm winter clothing we were amazed by all the donations they had from other community members. You guys are all so awesome!

codepurpleThe temperatures have dropped now in January and two code purple nights were called so far. We were able to supply bags for the patrons who attended the code purples in Newark, Delaware. Along with the healthy snacks supplied we were also able to supply socks and handwarmers in every bag! We want to thank the Friendship House, the Newark United Methodist Church and the NewArk UCC and all of their selfless volunteers who were able to organize these nights when the temperatures dropped.

Everyone across the nation can call 2-1-1 if they ever need support or information about where they can seek shelter. Please if you see someone on the street in need, especially when it’s freezing out, call 2-1-1 for them and see where they can go for help.

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Circle of Friends home daycare packing bags

My Gram has a daycare called Circle of Friends and the kids who go there are like family. Their parents were happy to have their kids participate in an act of kindness service morning by packing bags. Each child had their own special job. This is really cool because you can be 2 years old and make BIG differences in helping to feed the hungry.

exceptionaldelawareOn December 31 a blog called Exceptional Delaware posted an article about me and Brae’s Brown Bags and named me “Exceptional Delaware’s 2015 Hero Of The Year.” The author, Mr. Kevin Ohlandt, said such great things about what we are doing. The article made my Mom AND my Gram cry. Happy tears.

Mr. Ohlandt wrote, “Braeden’s story is amazing.  I agree with his mother that he is an old soul.  But he is also a new soul.  He is a pre-teen, not even in high school yet, who has a passion for those less fortunate.  It is enough to make a huge difference.  Braeden is a unique soul in Delaware.  He gives and gives and expects nothing in return.  The fact that he can help those who have less is a comfort for him.”

We have big things coming up this year. More 3B Ripple student chapters will be launching, more bag packing events, conferences, leadership events with the Boys & Girls Club and more. It’s going to be a great 2016 thanks to all of you!

The season of hope and giving

The 2nd graders at MOT Charter wanted to pack 3B bags to give to people in need. They did! On Friday they packed 171 bags which were dispersed to Our Daily Bread in Middletown, Delaware.

I’m hoping to get to their school early next year to tall with them about Brae’s Brown Bags and service. Also to thank them for taking the time to pack and give, because they helped provide 171 bags of healthy food to homeless and low income people in their community. They deserve high fives and hugs for the hope they have given to me and to the people around them.

They even shared some photos thanks to friends at the Jefferson Awards, Ms. Michelle and Ms. Jayme. image1

And look they personalized their bags!!! With drawings and notes to cheer up whomever receives the bag. I just know they are giving people smiles!

Thank you MOT Charter, I am so appreciative of your heard work. I can’t wait to meet all 75 of you!

 

Thank you Sigma Alpha at UD

My Mom helped me out with a bag packing at the University of Delaware last week with the Sigma Alpha agricultural sorority. I was able to show them my presentation and talk with them about what I have been doing and what I hope to be doing with Brae’s Brown Bags. My Mom joined in and did a bit of talking, too. A lot actually, she was really chatty.

We brought the bags, water bottles and inserts the girls brought snacks and toiletries, we even were able to include socks and gloves!

We packed 96 bags on December 7, 2015 which means WE HELPED 96 people get access to healthy food!

Hooray! We took a few bags home to keep in our car and deliver and my new friends at Sigma Alpha brought the remainder of the bags to the Newark Empowerment Center for the Friendship House to use as needed for their patrons.

It’s feeling like winter and 3B is ready to help

sundaybreakfastmission-donationThis week we are really thankful for helpers. On Thursday, December 3, our friend Laura Nash brought four boxes of books, blankets and some gloves to the Sunday Breakfast Mission in Wilmington, Delaware. We’re hopeful they can use these new items in their “Holiday Shoppe.” They have more than 200 families come to their mission to find items for their kids for Christmas. It’s really something special. I am thankful to the Sunday Breakfast Mission for all they do every day to help homeless and low-income friends in Wilmington.

kentcounty-givingdayThen on Friday, my Pop Pop, he took five boxes of things down to Dover help out the Kent County Code Purple. Last  winter was so cold in Delaware that the Kent County Code Purple opened an emergency sanctuary every night except for five night from Thanksgiving through March 28, 2015. So Pop Pop brought a box of handmade blankets and hats, made by Mrs. Cook, he brought two boxes of my 3B Brae’s Brown Bags which I put hand warmers, healthy food, water and little bottles of lotion in, a box of brand new gloves and hats, and a box of books for kids of all ages, some of which were brand new thanks to University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and the Molina Foundation. I’m so happy we were able to get items to them for their Giving Day which is today at the John W. Pitts Center in Dover, Delaware.

good people everywhereAlso on Thanksgiving everyone one of my family members who went to Grandmom and Grandpop Willey’s house for our family dinner, I think there were 25 or 26 people!, everyone took a 3B bag with them to give out on their holiday travels! Then I also found out that my Gram’s cousin, Ms. Anita Paulson and her family, have been giving out dozens of bags. They even asked us to send them out insert so they can keep helping!

Information to share with folks in need, or to help them get resources:

To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 2-1-1, or search for “Code Purple” on the Delaware 2-1-1 mobile app or on its website at www.delaware211.org.

Kirk Cougars Care 3B Ripple Update

3b-thankyouWe 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*

To apply to start your own 3B Ripple Student Chapter click here.

I am very thankful

So I’ve been meaning to write a blog post and I know I keep saying I will write more, but you know, it gets really busy!

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness WeekFirst thing is that this is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and I think that is important to mention. And I think that maybe as we are at the end of the week you can think about how you have reached out to help someone in need. Have you packed a brown bag lately and given it to someone on the street? Let us know! And share other acts of kindness you have been able to do. Because really every little thing helps, even a friendly smile.

There were two really cool events recently that I want to tell you about.

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Cara’s Dad, Miriam the Executive Director of K4C, Laya, Taylor and the amazing brother/sister cello players Noah and Sydney of From the Top and me, I’m sort of in the middle.

The Karma for Cara Foundation has a fundraiser in Owings Mill, Maryland at Cave’s Valley Golf Club on Friday, November 13, 2015. I went with my Mom and I was asked to talk a little bit about what I am doing with Brae’s Brown Bags. Because Karma for Cara gave me one of my first see grants and that will always make me very thankful.

Karma for Cara is in honor of 21-year-old Cara Becker. In 2012 Cara passed away with leukemia and because service was always important to her she has asked her family to find away to continue getting people involved in service to help others. I mean that is just really so nice!

We met other people there who are also going really inspiring things in their community. Laya who helps homeless in Baltimore County by give them trail mix and trying to encourage young kids to be more aware of the homelessness. She is awesome. We also met Taylor and she has a project called “For the Love of Erica” which she started when her friend Erica died of cancer. She donates toys to children in hospitals and throws them parties!

Then on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, it was National Philanthropy Day. And if you don’t know, philanthropy is this idea that you should be a giving person and not just like on one day but every single day. So it was really a great honor when I was asked to talk on a panel called “Youth Transforming our Global Community.”

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Grace Firestone, Nik Toocheck, Anegliz Merroro, Braeden Mannering (me) and our moderator Sarah Driscoll.

The panel also had Grace Firestone, Nik Toocheck and Anegliz Merroro on it. So Grace has a program called “Let the Kids Play” and it’s just really, really cool.  She raises money to help inner city kids get sports and be involved in sports programs at their school. And then Nik, he has a program called “Running the World for Children” and he literally RUNS THE WORLD, he has done marathons on seven different continents. He is going to run a race in every single state in the US too and you can help him accomplish this goal, so check out his website. Last but not least is Anegliz Merroro and she has taken over Instgram with her anti-bullying ideas. She shared a very sad story about a mentally challenged person being beaten up and she said people didn’t talk about it and that people need to talk about it and know it is happening so we can make it stop.

 

22752810797_5a8a446c19_kSo not only did I enjoy talking and presenting, but I also made new friends and I think they are doing really good things.

And then to make it even more awesome they gave me an award! Caitlin Custer at the Food Bank of Delaware nominated me for a Rising Star in Youth Philanthropy and they picked me! So they showed a little clip about me and they gave me a really heavy award and it is very nice! I am so thankful for all of this, for the new friends and the new inspiration and the award, it’s really so cool and I feel very thankful and lucky!

And just in case I don’t get to write again before next week, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am thankful for my family and friends, and I consider all of you who read this my extended set of family and friends!

Quick update: Please read our post on Facebook about homeless funding being at risk in Delaware. And let us know your ideas on how we can fix this situation.

Small Town Big Deal and then even more big deals

Well friends, I turned 12! We got to go to an arcade for my birthday. I played laser tag and games, it was fun. I also got to go on a haunted hay ride and shoot paint balls at zombies which I thought was really fun. And I had red velvet cupcakes.

I’ve been really busy and have not been writing a lot like I said I would, but being busy is good.

smalltownbigdealLast week I got to spend time with the hosts and film crew for a show called “Small Town Big Deal” which was really fun. I mean it was a long day but they were really nice. The hosts of the show are Rodney Miller and Jann Carl. They were both really nice and they seem to like diving into projects because by the end of the day they could pack a Brae’s Brown Bag in their sleep I think.

They were interviewed on the radio on WJBR and you can hear their interview here, it’s very nice and they say nice things about me and also about Delaware. Thank you!

I think that the show will air sometime soon and I will let you know when it does.

You can find out more about Small Town Big Deal here:

STBD on YouTube
STBD on Facebook
STBD on Twitter

Also Mr. Jeff Gentry included a line about Brae’s Brown Bags is his most recent “Only in Delaware” column which was very nice of him.

I posted on Facebook this week asking people to pack a brown bag and bring it with them during their weekend travels. 19 people shared it! That means a lot of people might have packed a bag and kept it with them to give to someone in need. Did you? newsomatic-braedenPlease tell us about it!

World Food Day was on October 16, 2015. I didn’t get to really be a part of it too much by doing something out in the community but I did have my story featured on News-O-Matic to promote World Food Day which is pretty cool.

We got to be sponsors for the Waffle Cone Run which Caffe Gelato hosted to raise money for the Newark Empowerment Center. But then we couldn’t go to it because my brother and sister were sick, but it was still a really good cause and I am sure it was a great event!

And we got a digital copy of an article that the Charlotte Sun wrote after our trip to Florida earlier this month. If you want to read it I think it’s a really great article.

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And then other big news is that my Mom, she helps me run 3B, she was named a top 10 Mover & Shaker in Delaware. I think that is really cool because I nominated her and she didn’t know. And I also think it is really cool because I was named one of the top 10 last year.