In elementary school, I remember getting off the bus and walking through the front door to be greeted by my dog’s kisses and my mom hollering from the kitchen where she was placing freshly made cookies on the counter. I’d wait at the kitchen table for them to cool and would happily dunk them in an extra-wide glass milk.
My mom is a baker—and excellent at mothering. She packed my lunch most days and would always include a dessert of homemade cookies, muffins or cake. I took those lunches for granted when I went away to college. I attempted store-bought desserts, but they were never the same. They didn’t have my mom’s secret ingredient: love. Luckily, I went to school close enough that my parents could visit. She’d bring me little holiday decorations, frozen leftovers and a bag of cookies. She later included sandwich baggies of seasonally decorated sugar cookies for my roommates so they wouldn’t feel left out.
Now that I’m a grown up with my own KitchenAid mixer, I make my own desserts. Occasionally, I do. My family has told me I bake like my mother, but even though I use her recipes it’s something special when she gives me a cookie. I was overcome the last time I went home and my mom surprised me with a bag of chocolate chip cookie bars.
I ate one today at lunch. I looked forward to it all morning. The sweetness wasn’t restricted to my taste buds. I think that bar changed my whole day. (I swear it’s not the sugar rush talking!) The dessert was a tangible, and tasty, gesture of love.
My mom bakes cookies for neighbors, friends, loved ones and even the car mechanic. But what about the people who can’t bake for themselves or don’t have my mom to bake for them?
I was so relieved to learn about the Cookie for Kindness program at Mustang Creek Estates, an assisted living and memory care community in Frisco, Texas. Penny Tipton, activity director at Mustang Creek Estates, told me the sales director came up with the idea to do something for the Frisco community and pay it forward for welcoming the Estates into the community.
Maybe it’s a friend or a next-door neighbor who’s having a rough time and needs some cheering up. Whoever it is, Tipton wants to meet them and give them a cookie.
“To be able to present a cookie or give someone something just to say we’re thinking of you, there’s no words to describe that feeling when they smile at you and say ‘Thank you,’” Tipton says.
Tipton says in the little more than two-and-a-half years the Estates has been around, they’ve had so many people from the community get involved. Teenagers and adults volunteer throughout the year to play games and crafts, carolers and an elementary school hand bell choir perform regularly and Girl and Boy Scouts have made and delivered cards for residents.
Tipton called locally-owned Coffee N Cream bakery to see if they would be involved. The owner readily agreed and asked Tipton try to get as much detail as possible to create pretty and personalize treats, perhaps delivering tulip-shaped sugar cookies if it's a favorite flower.
“I went there myself and sampled the cookies so I know they’re really good,” Tipton says with a laugh.
Tipton and her sales director have made three deliveries since the program began in December 2016, and she said word is getting out.