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baking it happen

Maryland teen uses cookies to start a kindness movement

Elise Chang has come up with a sweet way to bring cheer to her friends and neighbors.

Chang told Good Morning America she loves giving gifts, and at the start of the pandemic, the Maryland teenager would bake cookies and drop them off at her friends' houses along with a present, usually a stuffed animal. They would tell Chang how much they loved her baked goods, and many would also send photos showing them with the stuffed animal. "That's why I wanted to continue doing it, because of those small but really meaningful reactions," Chang said. 

She decided to use this as an opportunity to spread joy in her own neighborhood, and launched the Tough Cookie Service Project. Once a month, she makes special deliveries to 20 of her neighbors, leaving a bag of her latest cookie creation as well as a note encouraging the recipient to do something kind for someone else. The pandemic has helped Chang see just how resilient people are, and how even the smallest gesture can mean so much.

"I love random acts of kindness," Chang told GMA. "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."