A kind high school student is baking and delivering cookies for 20 of her neighbors each month to “make someone smile.”
Elise Chang, a senior at Towson High School in Baltimore, MD, has been baking cookies each month and bringing them to numerous houses in her neighborhood. Her goal is to bring a smile to her neighbor’s faces, and to show that somebody cares about them.
“The other goal is to make connections with my neighborhood, and it’s going well!” Elise said.
Elise bakes and then drops of small cookie surprise packages to roughly 20 houses in her community; some go to neighbors who she knows, and then some go to neighbors who she does not yet know. She named her cookie service the “Tough Cookie Project”, as the past few years have been tough for many of us, and everyone deserves a reward for making it through them.
“The recipients of my cookies are people I know and don’t know. I’m trying to branch out and meet neighbors I’m unfamiliar with,” she said.
Elise attaches a note with the cookies to introduce herself and to let her neighbors know the purpose behind the cookies.
“Hello! My name is Elise Chang and I’m a rising senior at Towson High School,” her notes read. “I’d like to share with you all The Tough Cookie Service Project. It’s something that I’ve been working on since fall 2020. I was inspired after reaching out to friends and dropping off cookie care packages for them. The pandemic and isolation we’ve all experienced has made me realize that people are incredibly resilient. But it also made me realize that this world is always in need of more kindness. That’s my project’s main goal– to spread kindness (and cookies)! And as life begins to return to normal, I hope the Tough Cookie Service Project encourages others to share small acts of kindness with family, friends, neighbors and strangers. So, expect small cookie packages to start showing up around our community! From one tough cookie to another, Elise Chang.”
The cookies and very thoughtful note have moved many hearts in her community, and many of her neighbors have brought her thank you notes.
“A child sent me a cute letter and a painted rock as a thank you for the cookies. She also said she’d pay forward the kindness. I’ve received letters and notes from children and adults, from neighbors and anonymous writers,” Elise shared.
“The first letter came from an elderly neighbor of mine, and she hadn’t been home when I dropped off the cookie care package, but she told me she came home and she cried when reading through it because it was a little check in, you know, someone reaching out, and saying like, ‘Hey! I care for you!’ She came by and delivered a hand note to me, and told me what I’m doing is great, and that inspired me to keep going.”
Elise bakes chocolate chip cookies, and has her own way of using butter and an adjusted baking temperature to keep the cookies soft.
“People really seem to enjoy them, and I have fun baking them. I use the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. My mom baked them all the time when I was younger and it’s my favorite now.”
For Elise, she feels joy in connecting and in giving gifts, and also understands the importance of practicing kindness as often as possible.
“I’ve connected with more people than I could have imagined. I’ve started doing more random acts of kindness throughout the days. This world is always in need of more kindness. Whether it’s smiling at someone or giving away cookies, our actions hold much more meaning than we think. I feel hopeful about the future, regardless of what happens. I’ve seen how resilient kindness is in the face of a crazy, hectic world. At the end of the day, we’re all tough cookies,” she said.
“I love random acts of kindness. You can just make someone smile when they weren’t originally or they’ll just be thinking about you or what you’ve done and want to continue giving kindness to others, which is really important to me.”
You are Loved.
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