Students in the College of DuPage culinary arts program recently created custom gingerbread houses to be auctioned to raise funds for Helping Hand Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities.
The result of a partnership between College of DuPage, Helping Hand Center and the LaGrange Business Association, the donated gingerbread houses will be used to decorate 11 Helping Hand Center group homes throughout the Chicago area. The houses then will be auctioned.
Aurora resident and COD Culinary student Rhonda Humes said she was thrilled to use her talents to help others.
"When I heard the houses were going to a good cause, I knew I had to be a part of this," Humes said. "It felt amazing to give back in a creative way."
Majoring in Baking and Pastry Arts at COD, Humes said she chose a red and white candy cane theme for her house and was pleased with the chance to improve her skills.
"I have made gingerbread houses before with my nephews and as displays for my business, Bayou Belle Desserts," she said. "I knew I wanted to do a bigger house this time since it was for a good cause, and I always try to challenge myself."
According to Culinary Arts instructor Donna Wagner, her cake decorating class has worked on gingerbread houses during many fall semesters over the past six years.
"While previous houses went to a variety of children's functions, COD Community Relations Specialist Joan DiPiero helped us to become involved with Helping Hand Center," Wagner said.
"I try to involve students in making something for the local programs that help children because, as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, this is close to my heart. I love doing things to make children know someone loves them."
Visit www.cod.edu/programs/culinary/index.aspx for more information on the Culinary Arts program at College of DuPage.