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 residents enjoyed 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 S.H.S. Magic Closet. Each year, the 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."
Students in Chemistry of Foods and Practices in Entrepreneurship 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.
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."
Fashion classes and the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) fashion and culinary chapters at Schaumburg High School transformed the foods classrooms into a "Winter Wonderland" seating area.
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, and gets grants from the Cook County Farm Bureau and help from Schaumburg High School.
"The students love to work this event," Frost said.
"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," Turner said.