Christy Mannering with Michelle Obama and Braeden Mannering Mover & Shaker Delaware 2015This Mover & Shaker exemplifies family, equality, fighting hunger and paying it forward.  Driven by a mission inspired by her son to provide healthy meals and water to homeless/low income families as well as to advocate for public schools and most importantly – all the students who attend the schools – teaching  food insecurity and empowering kids to get involved in the fight against hunger.  Her ultimate goal is making a difference in a child’s life.  We are honored to spotlight Bear’s own, Christy Mannering as a Top 10 North Delaware Mover & Shaker of 2015.

The COO and co-visionary of 3B’s | Brae’s Brown Bags, a student and Web Developer at the University of Delaware and Creator/Writer at Scrink: Bring Me Up, ambassador in the fight against domestic abuse and sexual assault, and above all MOM of three, Christy Mannering is an unstoppable magnetic force for the greater good. Christy tributes her forward ways to her mom, Margie and to Maya Angelou.

Top 10 Revealed Movers & Shakers North Delaware 2015

Q&A with Christy

NDH: The person who nominated you gave us 3 reasons why you should be nominated as a Mover & Shaker.  Now we would like to hear it from you.  Tell us 3 reasons why you are a Mover & Shaker.

Christy: Working with 3B Brae’s Brown Bags allows me to get in the community and help the people who need a hand up. My son, Braeden Mannering{a 2014 Top 10 Mover & Shaker), is the heart of this nonprofit, it exists because he dreams big and he wants to help feed people. Providing all people access to healthy food is incredibly important. Being able to eat healthy helps your body to grow and develop, getting the proper nutrition is important for everyday life. All people should have the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle regardless of their financial situation. I’m honored to be the Chief Operating Officer of this nonprofit.

“All people should have the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle regardless of their financial situation.” Christy Mannering

I enjoy working with the Christina School District to help promote their schools and their students to surround local communities. When the superintendent asked me to chair the Referendum Steering Committee in April, I really didn’t know what to expect. This district has high poverty, the first things to be cut when a referendum fails are the support services and extracurricular activities. There are kids who depend on their education and their time in school to get the support they need to develop the talents which will help them succeed as they further their education and eventually enter the work force. I helped organize 80 volunteers, mostly parents, to create a grassroots campaign to help swing the vote in our favor. I worked on all the promotional materials, creating a website, social media account, fliers and posters for this endeavor. We ended up having the biggest voter turnout ever for a school referendum, but we didn’t have enough in our favor. This was a hard loss, but it allows me to realize I really want to be an advocate for public schools and most importantly – all the students who attend the schools.

christy mannering announcing

I’m also a big supporter of raising awareness about domestic abuse and sexual assault. I have had an opportunity to provide a guest lecture in a few courses at the University of Delaware about these topics. I unfortunately endured things in my childhood which were a nightmare at the time, but ended up helping to mold me into who I am now. I believe that sometimes the very worst of things in life, can end up awakening a strength and courage within ourselves that we never knew existed. A couple years ago, I put 100 pinwheels around the University of Delaware campus as part of the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign. They were meant to raise awareness about child abuse. It meant a lot to see those pinwheels – even when students took them down off the light poles, my hope was they would like up the meaning behind the pinwheels and that would raise awareness on the topic. Being able to mentally and emotionally get through abuse of any kind is something that takes a lifetime.

NDH: For which achievements are you most proud?

Christy: I’m definitely really proud of how 3B Brae’s Brown Bags has expanded. It’s tough because on one hand I’m proud and on another hand I’m dismayed by the need for a program like this. Delaware is fairly small and to know there is so much poverty and so much food insecurity is heartbreaking. But I’m proud of what we’re accomplishing. Recently a young man in his 20s came up to Braeden at a soup kitchen. He said, “Are you really Brae of Brae’s Brown Bags?” Braeden affirmed. The man went on to say, “I’m doing a little bit better right now, but last winter I was on the street. I got some of the brown bags from you and you helped save my life. I wish there were more people like you in the world.” That’s probably the most amazing thing a Mom could ever hear. Running this nonprofit while also working full-time and taking classes at UD and raising three kids, is incredibly exhausting. However, all it takes is knowing we are helping just one person. That alone gives me the reserves to keep going. It’s like the Grinch and his heart growing three sizes. It’s pretty phenomenal. I can actually feel it happening, feel my heart exploding when I think of how proud I am of what Brae is doing and what we’re accomplishing with 3B.

“I can actually feel it happening, feel my heart exploding when I think of how proud I am of what Brae is doing and what we’re accomplishing with 3B.” Christy Mannering

brae's brown bags Photos from 2014 Kids State Dinner and Rachael Ray Season 9 Premiere

NDH: Can you share how your involvement has impacted an individual or the North Delaware community?

Christy: There have been a variety of times a homeless person has seen Braeden and said to him, “I remember you, thank you for what you’re doing.” Sometimes they are really surprised that Braeden is a kid. Schools are getting involved, we launched our first 3B Ripple Student Chapter program at Kirk Middle School. There is a group of students who will be packing and delivering bags on behalf of 3B. It’s incredible to know 3B is able to somehow inspire or empower other youth to become involved in service and in hunger relief.

christy mannering and braeden mover & shaker

NDH: Movers & Shakers are visionaries.  What projects are you working on for future achievement?

Christy: In 2015, 3B co-hosted the first ever hunger conference for adults & children from across the State of Delaware Coming Together: A Community Response to Hunger . We had children from age 6 to 18 years old attend.  Teachers, parents and students thanked us for the event. I worked on creating 8 stations for the students to rotate through and learn about healthy living – Brae’s Brown Bags, the cost of food, how to grow your own food, how to cook healthy, and how to reach out to their local representatives to be part of lasting change and to help keep momentum. It took several months to plan and it was an amazing success. We had kids really thinking about what it means to be hungry – what it means to live in poverty and to see their faces and hear their feedback was pretty incredible. We will continue this conference on a bi-annual basis and our goal is to expand beyond Delaware.
Christy Mannering Delaware Hunger Conference
We’re also expanding into schools and youth based organizations with the 3B Ripples Student Chapters. We provide a startup kit, funding if needed and direction. Many kids don’t have the platform to be part of something like this and we’re empowering them. It’s so easy to tell kids, “no I’m tired or no I’m too busy”, but then you squash whatever they were passionate about. I think getting kids pumped up for helping others at an early age is critical.

NDH: Have you faced any serious challenges along the way that you would like to share?

Christy: We’ve met critics. Those people in our society who really have no concept of food insecurity and poverty. There is a misconception that homeless people are lazy and we shouldn’t be enabling them. It’s really hard for me to understand. I’m just going to have to walk away from some conversations. The cycle of poverty is something difficult to explain to people who have never experienced hardship. When someone tells Braeden he shouldn’t waste his time, it makes me really angry. We won’t consider it a waste of time. We are humbled. We are grateful that these people let us come up and talk to them on the street. We are strangers. We’re handing them a brown bag. They don’t know who we are or what is inside of the brown bag. I think the hope which is passed out in this transaction is mutual.

NDH: What events do you have coming up?

Christy:  Yes, 3B Ripple Student Chapters. We’d really like to get more schools and youth organizations involved and on board with service.  We are looking for schools across the United States to start school based student chapters to help expand the idea behind 3B Brae’s Brown Bags far and wide. If your school is interested in becoming a 3B Ripple Student Chapter, please take the time to fill out the application, click here to learn more.

3B Brae’s Brown Bags is all about providing homeless and low-income populations access to healthy food and clean water. Our secondary mission is to teach youth about food insecurity and empower them to get involved in the fight against hunger.3b-ripples Braes Brown Bags

NDH: What local organizations, events or clubs are you currently involved with?

Christy: I have spoken on panels with UD SOS which stands for Sexual Offense Support. Obviously I’m very involved with Brae’s Brown Bags as the COO. Thru 3B, we work with the Food Bank of Delaware, the Ministry of Caring, the Friendship House in specific the Newark Empowerment Center, the Sunday Breakfast Mission and the Hope Dining Room. We’re also on board for the Code Purples known in North Delaware during frigid conditions – Code Purple sites support individuals who are homeless in finding a place of refuge during dangerous winter conditions. We receive emails when items and volunteers are needed. If we can get out in the weather, we will and do and we provide our 3B bags and handwarmers to each patron.

NDH: What attracted you to these organizations?

Christy: Brae’s Brown Bags is all about hunger relief and helping provide assistance and services to homeless and low-income populations. The organizations we affiliate with have the same mission

NDH: Who or what inspired you to get involved in those organizations? And, how did they inspire you?

Christy: Aside for being inspired by Braeden my other big inspirations in life are my Mom, Margie Mannering, and Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou wrote empowering poetry and I was able to hear her speak once and it was incredibly moving. My Mom is hard to accurately describe. She is my biggest fan. I’m sure a lot of people say that, but truthfully, I believe that God puts angels on earth to help guide people and help inspire people. My Mom is one of those angels. It’s not just me that she impacts, it’s anyone who spends time with her. She’s always smiling, always upbeat, she genuinely cares and when you’re around her — you just really want to be a better person in her presence.

Christy & Margie(mom) Mannering

Christy & Margie(mom) Mannering

NDH: Do you have a mentor?

Christy: There are two women in my life who really present themselves in such a powerful way with an overflowing amount of charisma and grace. Dr. Norma Gaines-Hanks, a professor at the University of Delaware, she’s a tough professor but man is she awesome. I learned so much from her about human services, she really made me want to continue learning more and continue thinking outside of the box. She’s not afraid to make you step outside of your comfort zone and see the world through multiple lens’. The second is First Lady, Michelle Obama. That might seem cliché to some, but I’ve met her and had the opportunity to talk with her at great length on two occasions. Michelle Obama is the epitome of strength and an amazing role model to her kids. When I think about all she endures being the wife of our President, trying to be a Mom and raise her kids as normally as possible, it just amazes me. She’s a strong proponent of “paying it forward” in life and I appreciate that immensely.

Christy Mannering with Michelle Obama and Braeden Mannering Mover & Shaker Delaware 2015

NDH: Is there anything else that North Delaware should know about YOU?

Christy: I don’t know if there is anything else, but I’d like to be able to share that I really hope anyone who hears about Movers & Shakers or reads these profiles, really takes to heart that we’re not any different than anyone else. Everyone has the power to share their heart and their wisdom with the people around them. You’d be really surprised the ripple effect you can have if you help to create or inspire other givers.

NDH: What’s your favorite North Delaware event?

Christy: I love your email newsletter but the event I enjoyed attending last year was your Movers & Shakers event for 2014. It was quite motivating for both Braeden and I. All the stories and incredible people in that room just really left you wanting to keep on giving.

Christy Mannering Delaware

NDH: What’s your go-to spot for dinner or night life?

Christy: Haha, my go-to spot if I ever had a moment to sit down would be my own sofa. I’d say I really like Potstickers, I love sushi so it’s delicious. I also absolutely love 2 Stones Pub in Newark. Pretty much everything they ever put on their menu is incredible.

NDH: How do you feel about being named as a Nominee of Movers & Shakers in North Delaware?

Christy: My first reaction was actually embarrassment, I think that’s the right way to describe it. I didn’t expect a nomination. I’m more of a background person. I’m a web developer and a designer, I sit at a computer and indulge in geekery all day. I’m on this list with incredible people, I mean absolutely incredible people who are raising money for amazing causes and impacting thousands of people. The B+ Foundation is just amazing I can’t believe I’m in a list with Joe McDonough. Oh my gosh and Deb Buenaga! We met her at a fundraiser at Fusion Fitness. She helped raise money for Brae’s Brown Bags. We met her and her family. Simply incredible and selfless people. Just awesome.


“Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

NDH: Other details you want to share?

Christy: Yes, actually, I’d like to thank my family and my kids for putting up with me when I get stressed out. We’ve been through a lot over the last few years and there have been times when things were falling apart and somehow we still managed to come out on top. To Braeden, Finnegan and Amelia – they are my hearts and my everyday heroes.

“Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

Follow Christy Mannering

Thanks Christy!

For all you do for our North Delaware communities and beyond. #lovelocal


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