Hours of baking more than 9,000 Cupcakes that resembled shapes of flowers and characters like the Cookie Monster paid off as the delicious works of art raised money for autism awareness. Community members collaborated for Cupcakes for a Cause at Hoffman Estates High School, and raised more than $13,000 for the Schaumburg chapter of Autism Speaks, with $3500 of that going to Special Olympics and Best Buddies Clubs, on April 7.
This is the third year Cupcakes for a Cause has been in place. In previous years, the event was hosted at different venues, but came to HEHS to accommodate a larger turnout. More than 1,500 people came to the event despite it being held Easter weekend.
Almost all of the cupcakes were provided by community members who wanted to support the cause. Amy Longmore, special education teacher and girls’ soccer coach at Hoffman Estates High School, said the retail store Target was the only large business who donated 1,200 cupcakes to the cause.
“The kids were in awe of the numbers, how many people came, and how many cupcakes there were,” Longmore said. “One woman said she made 50 dozen cupcakes out of her house!”
Longmore said the event was a great way to see community collaboration. Amy Sapio Bolis, a 1993 HEHS graduate, and teacher Wanda Lee created this event three years ago, and started it at a local junior high school. When they needed to find a new venue, Longmore, who also is a Special Olympics coach, teamed up with various organizations and helped Cupcakes for a Cause transition to its new venue at Hoffman Estates High School.
The HEHS girls soccer team was involved with the event, as well as other organizations, including the student groups Project Excel and Best Buddies, which is a club in District 211 that pairs a “typical peer” with a special needs student as a source of connection within the student population.
Aside from cupcakes, there was plenty of entertainment. Many of the attendees participated in face painting or watched performances by the Faubourg Theater, which sang and danced to “The Climb,” The Notables Choir, and Harper College’s Carter Bryant Jazz Trio. Illinois Art Therapy also was there to do art activities with children, while the School District 54 cheerleaders showed their support and spirit during the event.
A resource table was available that had free information for students and parents, as was staffed by representatives from Autism Speaks to answer any questions.
Longmore said the turnout was so great that HEHS is already considering its plan of action for next year’s event, due to limited parking this year and anticipation of more attendees.
“I’m just in awe of the community that really came together and supported the cause at a larger scale event,” Longmore said. “Just the amount of people who donated and created baskets, and seeing the compassion in the soccer girls, that serving piece was really exciting.”