Between blooming roses, 4-year-old old Giselle Reid makes her way up to the porch of a Santa Clarita home. She jumps up every stair – a small step for adults is a big leap for her.
At the front door, she carefully knocks, steps aside and places a neatly packaged container of cookies and a handmade card on the doormat.
Giselle is much like other 4-year-olds. She enjoys watching “Trolls” the movie on her pink iPad and playing with her best friend.
However, she hasn’t visited her playmate since COVID-19 triggered nationwide shutdowns.
For her mother, explaining the pandemic was tough, but Giselle’s reaction was worth it all.
“She asked me why we can’t go outside,” said Giselle’s mom, Deanna. “I told her that people are sad right now and they can’t hug each other because they are sick. That’s why we have to stay inside.”
Deanna recalls the simple pair of questions that started it all.
“Mom, can I bake for them,” Giselle asked. “Can I make them happy?”
That’s how the “Bake Your Day” project began. The project is a family effort –– dad gets the groceries and art supplies. Giselle and mom to bake and decorate cards. Spending hours in the kitchen, watching her project slowly bake in the oven, Giselle personalizes each order.
“It’s been three or four days of making cards and baking 12 dozen cookies,” Deanna said. “It’s been a lot of fun with our little family to go out and make a difference and spread joy instead of the sadness that’s been going on.”
The project has grown tremendously. Deanna posted a Facebook video Giselle made last week explaining her idea, and within a single night hundreds of people contacted the family.
“It was completely her idea,” Deanna said. “I had hundreds of messages that night from people saying ‘My dad’s lonely, can you deliver to him?’, ‘My grandpa is lonely, can you deliver to him?’, and ‘We just lost a family member and are going through a hard time’,” Deanna said. “We just want to reach out to those families and make them happy.”
For Giselle, she’s just doing what she knows best –– being kind and wearing her heart on her sleeve.
Giselle delivered to multiple houses today, including people from the oldest World War II veteran in Santa Clarita, to her best friend she hasn’t seen in weeks.
Chocolate chip cookies were dropped off for Mr. Larson and special pink sprinkled ones for Giselle’s best friend, all wrapped in a container with a special card.
The family takes every precaution they can to make sure their deliveries are safe for everyone, from sanitizing containers before and after packaging, washing hands, applying hand sanitizer before handling containers, and wearing masks.
“It really is about giving back, making a difference and coming out of kindness. Not buying cards but making them. Not buying cookies and packaging them, but making them with your heart,” Deanna said. “It’s all of us coming together as a family unit to make a difference.”
That difference, perhaps converting a frown to a smile, or a lonely day into one filled with joy, is what keeps this family going. When asked if she’d do it again, Giselle, still smiling from her most recent delivery, nodded and said a quiet “yes.”