Schaumburg High School Charity Soup Event Provides Tasty Way to Give Back to Community


Classrooms were transformed into “Winter Wonderland” seating areas for guests to eat.

Each year, Schaumburg High School’s Chemistry of Foods classroom is transformed into a charitable restaurant that serves hearty homemade soups for a cause.

Students, staff, and some community members attended the ninth annual Chemistry of Foods and Cool Beans Soup Charity Event on Nov. 30. All donations benefited the Elgin Community Crisis Center and the SHS Magic Closet. Each year, the popular event draws more than 200 people.

“The average person—a student, teacher, parent—can help others,” said Ken Turner, science and Chemistry of Foods teacher. “They can make a difference by participating in the event, and there are a lot of people who will benefit from this.”

Senior Amanda Sigler serves turkey tortilla soup.

Students in Practices in Entrepreneurship wore their Cool Beans t-shirts during the event. Junior Crystal Ayala worked Cool Bean’s Friday morning cafe, and then worked the charity event during school hours.

Students in Chemistry of Foods and Practices in Entrepreneurship (P.I.E.) prepared all the food. There were 10 different types of soups available for those who donated teenage appropriate gifts to the charity. The portions were unlimited, and there were trays of fresh-baked dinner rolls, zucchini, focaccia and Italian breads, cookies, lemon bars, and brownies.  Drink selections included iced tea, lemonade, and coffee.

In previous years, the soup event benefitted Toys 4 Tots. For the Elgin Community Crisis Center, individuals brought practical items for teenagers, such as clothing, blankets, gift cards, sports gear, and beauty products.

“I like that we give back to the community,” said senior Shannon LaRoy who will study culinary arts at Kendall College in the fall. “Everyone comes and is so nice.”

This is one of the many decorations put together by Fashion students at Schaumburg High School.

Other students were also involved in the event. Fashion classes and FCCLA fashion and culinary chapters at Schaumburg High Schools transformed the foods classrooms into a “Winter Wonderland” seating area. The decorations included a glowing fireplace made out of paper, icicle lights, and snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. Alumni came to help with the event, as well.

“I came back because it’s a great experience and I think it’s amazing we can give away so many things to people who need it,” said Amanda Cleys, a 2012 Schaumburg High School graduate.

The idea originated from Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Kerry Frost. Frost said she knew she wanted to give back to the community somehow, and decided to find a way to do it. The first class involved in the event was asked what would be a great charity meal. Student suggested café style eating, and from there the soup event evolved. Through grants from the Cook County Farm Bureau and help from Schaumburg High School, they are able to continue the charity event year after year.

Guests line up to try various homemade soups. Some already knew their favorite, while others saved room to try as many as possible.

“The students love to work this event,” Frost said. “Even the ones who are unsure about spending all day in one class, once they see the event in action, they can’t believe how much they enjoy it.”

Frost and Turner both said this event wouldn’t be possible without the overall efforts of the Schaumburg High School community, the Cook County Farm Bureau, and of course, the students.

“It’s a lot more work than what our students are normally used to during restaurant days,” Turner said, “but at the end of the day after everything is cleaned up, while they might have an ache in their leg they also have a warm feeling in their hearts knowing that their efforts made a difference in someone’s life.”