To Texas with love

Who doesn’t enjoy homemade cookies, especially those made with love? At the heart of these delicious treats is 11-year-old Brianna DeLeon of Sheffield Lake, who wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of those negatively affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Relief efforts are needed for a long time to come. Damage from Hurricane Harvey is estimated at $150 to $180 billion, more costly than hurricanes Katrina or Sandy.  Harvey displaced more than one million people and damaged about 200,000 homes in its 300-mile path of destruction. 

“Since I couldn’t go to Texas, the next best thing was to share one of my talents to bless others,” Brianna says. “Why not make Texas-shaped sugar cookies that my mom taught me how to decorate and sell them? I wanted to help them because I felt like we have so much and they lost it all.”

Brianna baked cookies to sell at a yard sale shortly after the hurricane hit. Her goal was to sell 50 cookies at $1 each, hoping to raise $50 for hurricane victims. Brianna’s mom, Brandy DeLeon, who operates a cookie and cake decorating business, Dulces y Sueños, posted her daughter’s fundraiser on Facebook, and she soon had orders for dozens of cookies. The mother-and-daughter team baked another 50 cookies the following week, and then 50 more. They even shipped two dozen cookies to San Antonio, where a woman heard what Brianna was doing and wanted to support her.

In total, Brianna made 150 Texas-shaped sugar cookies. Because some customers paid her more than $1 a cookie — up to $20 — she raised $404 for Hurricane Harvey victims. Brianna was amazed by how many cookies she sold and by the generosity of the people who bought them.

“I learned an important lesson,” Brianna says. “It is amazing how far a simple act can go.”

Brianna is not only kind, generous and talented; she also is smart. She did her research and chose a charity that would use 100 percent of the money for those in need. LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, guaranteed all $404 would go to Hurricane Harvey victims.

It’s wonderful to see something good come out of such devastation. Thank you for spreading kindness in such a sweet way, Brianna. You give us hope for the future.

Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group provides assistance to Hurricane Harvey victims during the long-term recovery process. You can find more information about volunteering or donations here.

Donate to the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Global Giving Foundation, United Way or other reputable relief organizations.

Start your own fundraiser like Brianna. Whether you’re a cookie baker or a woodworker, consider using your special talents to help others.

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