Island children bake kindness into cookies

This group of Island children brightened many people's Thursday by handing out gifts of homemade cookies. The group included (from left, in front,) Chase Panico, 2, Ethan Haley, 1, Archer Butler, 2; (In back from left) Benjamin Burgoyne, 4, Jackson Burgoyne, 6, Nicole Haley, 3, Angelina Campbell, 7, and Delilah Butler, 4. — Photo courtesy of Olivia Butler

Three-year-old Nicole Haley walked into The Times office on Thursday, December 20, with her godmother, Olivia Butler, to present the staff with two homemade cookies in a small brown paper lunch bag. A white strip of paper Ms. Butler had attached to the bag read, “In honor of 26 lives taken too soon, my children and I are doing 26 random acts of kindness. You are #16. Reuse this tag for your 26 acts!”

Ms. Butler has two children of her own, Archer and Delilah, and takes care of six godchildren after school. She said she and the children were inspired to take part in what has become a worldwide “acts of kindness” movement, after watching the Today Show.

NBC News National and International Correspondent Ann Curry called on people all over the world to do something kind in honor of each of the 20 children and 6 adults who were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last week.

On Wednesday Ms. Butler and the children baked over 140 cookies and put them in the brown bags. The next day she and the children, accompanied by Nicole’s mother, Eva Carter, walked around and handed the cookies out to random people in Tisbury in the morning and in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs in the afternoon.

“The kids had a great time,” Ms. Butler wrote in an email the next day to The Times. “They would walk up to people and say, ‘Read the note, please,’ and ‘Merry Christmas.’ Most everyone was so thankful and proud of the children. The children were proud of each other and themselves as well. They said it felt good to give someone something.”

Ms. Curry first sent a message out on December 16 on Twitter that said, “#26 Acts: Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for each previous life lost. An act of kindness big or small. Are you in?” She posted a similar message on Facebook.

Since Sunday, more than 167,000 messages have been shared on the social media sites, according to an online report on December 21 at Supporters in foreign countries including Australia, Russia, Finland, Austria and Afghanistan posted messages, the report said, and nearly one million hits have been registered on an NBC News web page which shared information and stories about acts of kindness.