17-year-old Melanie Chung has been selling her homemade cookies with the hopes of making a change in the community. Since opening up her online business, Cookies by Mel, the young baker and entrepreneur has donated a portion of her profits to different organizations such as the Markham Food Bank and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Chung said she started her cookie company as a way to keep herself busy during the pandemic. Prior to it, she said she would bake for friends and teachers, but what motivated her to start her own company was when she tried a new recipe and got positive feedback from her parents.
Since then, Chung has been preparing dozens of cookies every week for her customers. With everything made by hand, it takes approximately two hours to prepare the cookie dough and three hours to complete the baking process. Though it is an extensive process, Chung said that hearing positive comments from her customers is what makes it all worth it.
“For me, baking is a stress reliever and it is always so rewarding to see people enjoying my baked goods,” said Chung. “I’ve been baking since I was little, and I have developed my skills over the years.”
As her company started to gain more attention, Chung said she wanted to apply a fundraising aspect to it. A month after she launched Cookies by Mel, she began donating to the Markham Food Bank.
“As business started to pick up, I decided to turn it into a fundraiser because I felt that other people needed the money more than I did, especially those who do not have access to basic physiological needs,” she said. “After changing my business into a fundraiser, I’m even more motivated to keep helping the community and making people happy through my baking.”
In May, Chung said she noticed the Black Lives Matter movement was getting a lot of attention in the media and she wanted to do something to help. She ended up donating 15 per cent of her profits from that month to Campaign Zero – a non-profit organization that is working to end police brutality.
This month, Chung is going back to donating a portion of her profits to the Markham Food Bank.
“I will be continuing to donate to the Markham Food Bank because I feel like people don’t realize how important their services are,” she said. “People tend to forget to donate unless it is around Thanksgiving or Christmas, but they need donations and funding throughout the entire year.”
As Chung continues to sell her cookies and make change in the community, she said that she has her family to thank for all of their support.
“I would like to thank my family for all their guidance and support. My dad and uncle help me with the deliveries, my mom does a lot of the advertising for me, and my aunt and uncle order lots of cookies from me.”
For more on Chung and her cookie company, visit her Instagram page @cookiesbymel_.
Photo: Cookies by Mel is an online chocolate chip cookie company by Melanie Chung.