D211 Post: PHS Holds 7th Annual Empty Bowl Charity Event


A group of teachers from Palatine High School talk while sampling a variety of soup prepared by students in the Chemistry of Foods class for their annual Empty Bowl charity fundraiser.

    Students from Palatine High School’s Chemistry of Foods and 3-D Design classes combined to hold the school’s 7th annual Empty Bowl Charity Event.  The event is based on a project started by Michigan teachers Lisa Blackburn and John Hartom in the early 1990s, and raises money for the Palatine Food Bank.

    During the event, students in the Chemistry of Foods class prepare a variety of soups, breads, and small deserts. Attendees can choose to purchase ceramic bowls created by the 3-D Ceramic Arts Class.  

    Erika Varela, a culinary arts teacher at Palatine, said the event allows students in the Chemistry of Foods class to fulfill one of the critical learning standards for the class.

    “Part of the Chemistry of Foods curriculum includes serving customers,” she said.  “We happen to have a classroom which we can turn into a restaurant so we do it this way.”

Randal Sternquist and Kiara Zamora, juniors at Palatine High School, cut cornbread during the Chemistry of Foods class’s annual Empty Bowl charity fundraiser.

    For senior William Landeene, his favorite part is the cooking and comradery.  

    “I just like cooking it all,” he said.  “Having all the teachers smile and like the food is great.”

    ESL teachers Seju Jain and Jose Zepeda have attended the event for multiple years.  Both agree that seeing the students engaged in an event that alerts them to those in need is a good thing.

    “We have several programs we program with, partner with, like blessings in a backpack,” said Jain.  “This is nice for people to know that this is a real issue, and for kids to get behind too.”

    While everyone dined, the room was lined with 24 bowls created by the 3-D Design.  Karen Lange said the creation took two weeks.

Germaine Wells, a teaching assistant at Palatine High School, scoops some soup during the Chemistry of Food class’s annual Empty Bowl charity fundraiser.

    “The students knew this was for Empty Bowls,” she said.  “They learned how to create for a commercial purpose, so they made the colors and patterns universal.”

    Lange said events like this shows the students the importance of service.

    “This really talks about service and about people who don’t have as much as them,” she said.  “For those who may need charity, it lets them know we are all in this together.”

              This year the students served more than 120 meals and raised $300 for the Palatine food bank.  The event also auctioned off nine hand-made wooden items crafted by retired applied technology department chairman Roger Basrack.

Dr. Daniel Cates, Township High School District 211 Superintendent, pours himself a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup during Palatine High School Chemistry of Foods class’s Empty Bowl charity fundraiser.