PORTLAND, Ore.—

Ariel Matasar’s kindergarten and first-grade class at Emerson School, a public charter school in Northwest Portland, served the community in a project inspired by the fairy tale story “Stone Soup.”

The project originated as an assignment following an 8-week unit about rocks. Each class was assigned to come up with a service project that ties into the course.

The class read “Stone Soup” — a story about a traveler that arrives in a village with an empty soup pot. He places a stone inside the pot and soon villagers contribute their own ingredients to make the soup. The theme of the story is community sacrificing for the good of all.

One first grade student who understood the significance of the story suggested the class make their own “stone soup” to feed to the community.

Upon hearing about the project, the Pearl District Whole Foods donated ingredients such as broth and vegetables to the school. Jacob Obermiller and Aaron Van Der Sluis, Whole Foods employees, helped set up a tent and serve food in the North Park Blocks.

The students spent Wednesday morning preparing the food. They chopped carrots, barley, celery, and other ingredients. The kids also wished to add “happiness” and “joy” to the soup, to “feed people’s hearts.”

The kids toted two large pots across the street to the International Culinary School for Chef Eric Wynkoop to cook before delivering it to the park.

A hand painted sign advertised the event, reading: Free Soup Today.

The students lined up to invite people into the tent. Some of the kids’ parents arrived to show support.

The soup was served to everyone in the community: some who were traveling home from work, others who were doing their Christmas shopping, and many in need of a hot meal and warm company.

Hana is currently pursuing an undergraduate English degree with a Spanish minor at Concordia University Portland. She loves creative writing and reading children's books and someday hopes to publish her own. Favorite hobbies include cooking, cleaning, eating ice cream, and singing Disney princess songs.