Brenda D’Angela is determined to show her grandchildren the right path in life. So last summer, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brenda decided that she and her then seven-year-old grandson, Jaxon, would do a good deed. “We decided to bake cupcakes and to take them to police officers,” Brenda says. “Jaxon was a little too intimidated to go to the police station, so we found an officer in his car and gave him the cupcakes to give to other officers. Jaxon got his picture taken with the officer and it was a great lesson for him about helping others. We also went to fire halls with baked goods and Jaxon got his picture taken there, too.”

That was just the beginning. Brenda and Jaxon also made banana bread and homemade dog treats to give to the people who congregated daily under the Blue Water Bridge that connects Sarnia and Port Huron, Michigan. “We gave them to seniors that were there sitting in their lawn chairs,” Brenda says. “Jaxon had great conversations with the people and he just loved giving out the treats. I told him when you give kindness you get it back. He loved it.” Jaxon, now eight, enjoyed the experience. “I really liked talking to the people,” Jaxon says. “They liked the homemade treats we gave them and the people seemed to like when we gave their dogs our homemade treats. It made me feel really good when they thanked us.”

Brenda didn’t stop there. After taking her granddaughter Tia Jennings to the River City Vineyard to drop off treats, Tia was shocked by what she encountered. “She saw people sitting on benches who were cold and hungry,” Brenda recalls. “We had some blankets in the truck so we went and got them and handed them out so the people could get warm. We gave them cupcakes, but Tia said we needed to do more.” So, with the help of Tia’s cousin, Tessa D’Angela, they cooked turkey dinners to give to others. Jaxon also lent a hand as did Brenda’s husband, John, and her daughter, Nina. “Tia and Tessa put the dinners together and started delivering them,” Brenda says. Tessa said the whole process was a wonderful experience. “With COVID going on, everybody needs a little help sometimes,” Tessa says. “When we dropped off the meals, the people were super nice. It made me really happy because I was helping someone who really needed the help.”

Brenda feels it is vital that children learn the gift of giving. “It is important that the kids have something to focus on besides COVID or how crazy the world has gotten with hate and meanness,” Brenda says. “I am trying to teach them to treat people the way they want to be treated and if you can help somebody, by all means, help them.”