Posts Tagged Charity

“If You Are Hungry and Have No Money, Come In and We Will Feed You Free;” a sign Eli placed in his window in 1940–a spirit of community giving that continues today at Eli’s

My dad always told me that “charity will never bust you” and
about a sign that he had placed in the window of the Ogden Huddle when he opened
in 1940 offering to feed the hungry for free.

In these challenging economic times, it made me feel very good
to come upon this news paper clip from the Herzl LIGHT. 1948, Herzl Junior
College (now Malcolm X in what is now the City Colleges of Chicago system) was
located just blocks from Eli’s Ogden Huddle on Chicago’s West side. A reporter
from the Herzl LIGHT, Richard C. Blank set out to test the sign to see if Eli’s
would in fact feed him for free. As noted in the article below from the LIGHT,
Blank came into the Huddle as a “humble and low spirited person” seeking a free
meal. My uncle and Eli’s brother, Nate Schulman, greeted him and immediately had
him served dinner.

The article continues that “playing the part of the ‘good
Samaritan is an old story with the Schulman’s.” (Eli, Nate and Bertha). “Eli
started the business eight years ago..and uses the previously mentioned sign
because someone gave him a helping hand when he was hungry and without

The article lists “examples of the different people who have
shared the Schulman hospitality:”

1. An elderly man said he didn’t have the money for a cup of
coffee. He got his coffee and a donut too. A few days later, he returned, and
not only cleared his debt, but paid twice as much.

2. A little old lady comes into the Huddle everyday and Nate
feeds her free because she doesn’t make enough money to live on.

3. Some time ago, a mongrel dog was in front of the store
counter. It was so hungry so Nate fed it. The next day another pooch appeared
and he fed it too!

“When people come in for a free meal and ask what they can do to
earn it it, Nate says “Northing.” He admires that kind of spirit but it would
force him to think up more jobs than the W.P.A. had in the leaf raking

That article was written 60 years ago this year. We are very
happy that our tradition of feeding the hungry continues with our commitment to
the Greater Chicago Food Depository at the Eli’s Cheesecake Festival and the
upcoming Magnificent Mile Lights Festival as well as our Eli’s Giving Back
Program, whereby our associates are invited and encouraged to personally deliver
Eli’s Cheesecakes to a worthy organization of their choice.

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Mark Brown in the Chicago Sun TImes Highlights Eli’s Associates Holiday Giving

Eli’s Christmas charity takes the cake

Employees get to deliver 2 cases of goodness to cause of
their choice


December 18, 2007

BY MARK BROWN Sun-Times Columnist

This is a good time of the year to know somebody who works for The Eli’s Cheesecake Company.

Come to think of it, it’s probably always good to know somebody at Eli’s. But right about now is especially good.

That’s because each of Eli’s 220 employees are given the opportunity during the holiday season to deliver two free cases of cheesecakes to the charitable cause of their choice.

As a result, dozens of local churches, schools, community and civic groups look forward each year to chowing down on this Chicago-made treat at their holiday events. Some aren’t above dropping little reminders.

“Around this time of year, they ask, ‘Are you going to bring the cake?’ ” laughs William Ferebee, 47, an Eli’s packaging foreman who takes his cheesecakes to Victory Outreach, a rehab home at 13th and Cicero where he volunteers his time. “Man, they really love the cake.”

Eli’s supports more than 600 organizations a year with product donations, but company president Marc Schulman said the holiday program is special because it allows his workers to decide for themselves who they want to support and to experience the gratification of making the delivery personally.

“My father always taught me that charity will never bust you,” said Schulman, referring to patriarch Eli Schulman, who started the family restaurant business in 1940, which veered into cheesecake manufacturing after his father’s recipe emerged as one of the hits of the first Taste of Chicago in 1980.

As some of you must have noticed from reading the papers through the years, the elder Schulman also taught his son plenty about the art of promotion, whether it was making cheesecakes available for the now trite bets between politicians over sports championships or feeding the President on Air Force

As best as I can remember, I have always resisted the Schulman siren song, but Marc Schulman discovered my weakness, and no, I’m not referring to the chocolate chip cheesecake. No, not the strawberry either.

Schulman got my attention by picking Southwest Chicago PADS to be the charity that would receive its own personal cheesecake shipment this year. The Marquette Park homeless shelter is run by Sister Therese DelGenio and her dedicated staff, and Schulman knows I like to write about their work.

So I surrendered to the Eli’s public relations machine, which is really just Schulman, and visited the company’s Northwest Side plant to meet some of the employees, who confirm that they look forward to being the bearer of such yummy tidings.

“It’s a great pleasure,” said Robert Henley, 45, a baker from Portage Park, who takes his cheesecakes to Sunday school students at the Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park.

Eleonor Laurea, 51, a North Sider who works in decorating, brings her cheesecakes to her Family Christian Fellowship, a predominately Filipino congregation, for its annual youth gift exchange and Christmas Eve dinner.

“When they saw the cakes, they are so excited,” Laurea said. “They ask, ‘Is there tiramisu?’ Most Filipinos love tiramisu.”

Workers get their fill

I learned, though, that Eli’s employees make a habit of supplying cheesecakes to family and friends year round.

Wendell Deeter, 42, of Albany Park, even finds them a valuable form of barter. Deeter, a mixer, said he once had no money to pay his mechanic, so he asked: “Would you accept a Peanut Butter Reese’s Cake instead?”

“Sounds good to me,” said the mechanic.

There’s a couple reasons Eli’s employees often have a cheesecake handy for such purposes. For one, they receive free cakes at all the big holidays as well as their birthdays, plus they get a 40 percent discount at the company store.

But just as important, after spending all that time making the cheesecakes, the Eli’s employees all told me the last thing they’d want to do is eat one themselves. That’s no reflection on the product, just the nature of the work.

Eli’s has carved out a deserved niche as a Chicago original with a family-owned business that makes a good product and provides much-needed manufacturing jobs. There’s no harm in reminding everyone of that.

“We’re a little guy in a world of giants,” Schulman says unapologetically for his promotional bent. “If you don’t tell your story, who will?”

Who indeed.

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Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls Serves Eli’s Cheesecake for Dessert at his 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Pacific Garden Mission

Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls was named as the Sportsman of the Year in the NBA for his activities in the community. One of the many programs of his Luol Deng Foundation is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for the
needy. At Eli’s we are delighted to have supported Luol for all three of his Thanksgiving Dinners this year at the Pacific Gaden Mission










November 21, 2007 – The Chicago Bulls and Luol Deng will provide Thanksgiving dinner for more than 700 visitors to the Pacific Garden Mission (1458 S. Canal Street | Chicago, IL) today beginning at 5 p.m.

Deng, along with the help from his foundation, the Bulls, Eli’s Cheesecake, Randolph Flowers, Hinckley Springs, Fields Auto Group and Infinite Logistics will donate and serve a Thanksgiving dinner and Chicago’s Eli’s Cheesecake to the men visiting the homeless shelter that evening. After dinner, Deng will provide each guest with a Bulls gift to celebrate the holiday.

Deng will also be joined by teammates Joakim Noah, Chris Duhon and Thabo Sefolosha as well as team mascot Benny the Bull as they personally assist with serving dinner to the 700 diners.

The Luol Deng Foundation is dedicated to assisting those in need by providing resources and creating opportunities for a better way of life. With hope, integrity and faith as values, our wellness, educational and recreational programs encourage and promote progress and improvement in our community and in Sudan.

Since 1877, Pacific Garden Mission has been a refuge for those weary of struggling through life’s storms. It is the oldest, continuously-operating, rescue mission in the country. Countless millions have come to the “Old Lighthouse” in Chicago seeking food, shelter and clothing as well as medical and dental care. Many also come seeking the answer to their ongoing struggle

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Eli’s Cheesecake Proud to Support Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls in Providing dessert for guests at the Pacific Garden Mission’s Gospel League Home’s Thanksgiving Dinner

Eli’s Maureen Schulman is pleased to assist Luol Deng in serving Eli’s Cheesecake for dessert at his 2nd Annual
Thanksgiving Celebration.
More than 400 visitors to the Pacific Garden Mission’s Gospel League Home will enjoy the mealDeng Provides 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Homeless Shelter

November 21, 2006 — The Chicago Bulls and Luol Deng will provide Thanksgiving dinner for more than 400 visitors to the Pacific Garden Mission’s Gospel League Home the day before the holiday, Wednesday, November 22 beginning at 4 p.m.

Deng, along with the help of the Chicago Bulls, MacArthur’s Restaurant and Fields Auto Group, will donate and serve a Thanksgiving dinner and Chicago’s Eli’s Cheesecake for the families visiting the homeless shelter that evening.

Additionally, after dinner, Deng will provide each guest with Bulls gifts to celebrate the holiday. He will also be joined by team mascot Benny the Bull as he personally assists in the serving of dinner and entertaining the 400 diners.

Deng is dedicated to assisting youth and families in the metropolitan Chicago community by providing resources and creating opportunities. With hope, integrity and faith as values, Deng creates and implements hands-on projects that inspire and encourage progress and improvement in the community.

Since 1877, Pacific Garden Mission has been a refuge for those weary of struggling through life’s storms. Countless millions have come to the “Old Lighthouse” in Chicago seeking food, shelter and clothing as well as medical and dental care. Many also come seeking the answer to their ongoing struggle. They leave having found new life through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Gospel League Home was established in 1941 to specifically address the needs of homeless women and children. It provides dorm-like housing for approximately 150 women and serves between 5,000 and 7,000 meals each month.


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Eli’s Giving Tree in Full Force for 2005

One of our most valued holiday traditions at Eli’s is our Giving Tree. It is
a way that Eli’s and our people team up to make gift of our cheesecake to a
civic or charitable group that is important to that associate. The key is that
the delivery of up to a case of Eli’s Cheesecake (enough to feed 100) is made by
the individual associate and, if possible their family. We are proud as a
company of our record of community support but is nothing when compared to the
pride and our recognition that our individual associates receive when they
deliver their Eli’s–it is like you were giving out gold.

Right now we have associates visiting 65 organizations in the coming
week—the ulitmat number will be close to 100. A big thank you to our people at
Eli’s who share a passion for our product and a desire to make a difference in
the communities we serve.





St. Mary of the Lake

Sheridan Rd. Chicago


Fairyland Nursery School

4350 N. Milwaukee Chicago


Family in Faith

1408 Bloomingdale Rd. Glendale Hts.


tiny treasurs day care

1340 N. Avers Chicago


Victory Outreach Church


Humbodt Park Library



University Bible Fellowship

River Grove


Word of Grace Christian Fellowship

Touhy Lincolnwood


Red Door Animal Shelter



Women’s Centers of Greater Chicagoland



North Ashlan Ave. Chicago


St. Vincent Church



True Light Baptist Church

11704 S. Indian Chicago


Immaculate Heart of Mary

3820 N. Spaulding Chicago


Gordon Tech High School


Richard Yates School

1842 N. Richmond Chicago


Fellowship MB Baptist Church

4650 S. Princeton Chicago


Family in Faith

1408 Bloomingdale Rd. Glendale Hts.


Wooddale Community Church Homeless Shelter



St. Rosalie Food Pantry

6750 Montrose Harwood Hts.


Linne School

Sacramento & Belmont Chicago


Our Lady of Lourdes

4640 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago


Our Lady of Mercy

4432 N. Troy ST. Chicago


Jehova Church

3523 W. Armitage Chicago


St. Mathias

Ainsle & Western Chicago


River Road Schiller Park


St. Celestine Church

Elmwood Park


Richard Yates School

1842 N. Richmond Chicago


Unity Missionary Baptist Church

4416 W. Gladys Chicago


St. James M.B. Church

3020 W. Van Buren Chicago


Salem Kingdom Jahova


Christian Assembly Outreach

2505 W.63d St. Chicago


St. Vincent Ferrer Church

North Ave. Chicago


Ethopian Orthodox Church

9805 S. Commercial Chicago


St. Procopio Church


Greek Orthodox Church

Sheridan Rd. Chicago


Lida’s Day Care Center

3810 N. Troy Chicago


Interfaith Church & Refugee Mission



1st Baptist Church



Iglesia Evangelica

6200 N. Artice Chicago


Our Lady of Victory

5212 W. Agatite Chicago


Glory to Glory Family Christian Center

12200 S. Parnell Chicago


St. John’s Lutheran Church



St. Vincent Ferrer Church

North Ave. Chicago


Victory Outreach Church


Faith International Christian Church

510 W. Frontage Rd. Park City IL


Baptist Church

Montrose Ave Chicago


Landmark Missionary Baptist Church

2708 W. Wilcox Chicago


El Pastor

4350 W. Parker Av Chicago


Body of Christ

1808 Church St. Chicago


Christian Spiritual Church of God & Christ

394 S. West Lake Chicago


Jenner School

1119 N. Cleveland Chicago


Northfield Fire & Rescue


Northfield Police


Hope Lutheran Church for the Joshua Center


Sister of Grace

St. Hedwig’s Church


3901 N. Whipple



St. Walter Church



Norwood Park Senior Home

6016 N. Nina Chicago


Iglesia Christiana De La Fam

3053 E. Lender Chicago


Serbian Orthodox Church

3062 W. Palmer Square Chicago


Smith Park



St. Edward Catholic Church

Sunnyside Ave. Chicago


Haymarket Treatment Center

920 N. Sangamon Chicago


Holy Resurrection Church

5701 Redwood Dr. Chicago

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