San Jose teen’s macarons have raised more than $5,000 for nonprofit

date January 20th, 2021 category Stories

Baking has given Shrobana Sangupta an outlet during the pandemic and a way to help others

Ever since fourth grade, Shrobana Sengupta has enjoyed baking. But it took on much more significance for her last May. About two months into the COVID-19 pandemic, with in-person school shut down, the 16-year-old San Jose girl decided to make a French cookie box for her mom for Mother’s Day and baked her first batch of macarons — the famously tricky French cookie.

They turned out so well that she continued baking them nearly every day, enjoying the challenge of perfecting the recipe.

And then her generosity kicked in. The Presentation High School student has been passionate about supporting charities since a young age, contributing to causes like St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and charities related to Alzheimer’s disease. She set her sights this time on Sunday Friends, a San Jose-based nonprofit that works to help families break the cycle of poverty. Shrobana first volunteered for them when she was in middle school and knew they were helping people deal with the challenges of distance learning during the pandemic.

“I love the work they do supporting underprivileged families the way they do,” she said. “A lot of the families don’t have the proper technology for school from home.”

She set a goal of raising $15,000 so Sunday Friends could purchase 50 laptops for families in need. So far, she’s raised more than $5,200 selling macarons. Her success has a lot to do with her entrepreneurial approach and marketing savvy.

She obtained a license to produce food at a home kitchen, and her father helped her set up a business and navigate the ins and outs of California law. In addition to standards like strawberry, vanilla, coffee and chai, she added specialty flavors like Dark Chocolate Ganache, Birthday Cake and Butterbeer. She also added macarons with the flavors of Indian desserts for Diwali and for Christmas she sold a box of red velvet and cannoli cream macarons.

It’s tough to say how many hundreds of the sandwich-like cookie she’s baked, filled and decorated since last summer, but she’s been busy baking nearly every night. Word spread, and she benefited from both press coverage and friends who — like Shrobana herself in April — were unable to have big parties for their 16th birthdays and bought boxes to celebrate.

“A lot of flavors are based on what I like and desserts I really love,” she said, adding that others — like the churros-flavored ones — remind her of trips she’s taken with her family. Being a typical high school student, her personal favorites are chocolate and coffee, though she rarely gets to enjoy them. “All the ones I bake go to people,” she said.

You can read more about Shrobana’s mission — and perhaps order macarons to help her cause — at her website,

INAUGURAL PERFORMANCE: Carolyn Schuk of Silicon Valley Voice brought to my attention a virtual performance co-created by the Santa Clara musical duo of Derek Silbermann and VanNessa Hulme Silbermann that’ll be part of the community events surrounding President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The production of Luther Vandross’ “Brand New Day,” a number from the musical “The Wiz,” will be shown Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as part of the National Day of Service events partnered with the Inauguration Committee. It’ll feature soloists, dancers, a children’s choir and a choir of 100 adults — who recorded their pieces separately.

Working with Los Angeles-based musician and community arts advocate Joel Brown, VanNessa served as producer/director and Derek was music director for “The Inauguration Project: Brand New Day.” You can sign up to watch the noon performance for free at

LOVE ON THE BALLOT: Bay Area author Adrienne Bell brought together several writers from different genres and backgrounds — including LGBTQ fiction writer M.D. Neu and women’s romance writer Kilby Blades — to collaborate on a voting-themed anthology. “A More Perfect Union” is a set of romance short stories with proceeds from its sale benefitting Fair Fight, an organization dedicated to combating voter suppression. That’s certainly an idea everyone should love. Get the eBook download or paperback version starting Jan. 19 at

WALDEN WEST’S NEXT CHAPTER: Walden West, which has been providing environmental science education programs for South Bay students for more than 70 years, has been working to recover from a abuse scandal tied to a former counselor now serving prison time. And now the popular science camp has someone new in its corner: Vikki Bowes-Mok, who is the first executive director of the 25-year-old Walden West Foundation.

A former business journalist, Bowes-Mok will work with the foundation’s board to provide support through student scholarships and facility upgrades for Walden West, a 35-acre campus in the Saratoga Hills that is operated by the Santa Clara County Office of Education.

Bowes-Mok, who calls Walden West “a treasure in our community,” said, “The importance of protecting our planet and nurturing the next generation of scientists and environmental leaders has never been more important than it is today.” (Full disclosure: Bowes-Mok also is president of the board of directors for Happy Hollow Foundation, the non-profit where my wife is executive director.)

BUZZING ON THE RADIO: Warriors fans will have to forgive former Campbell High School District Superintendent Rhonda Farber if she’s suddenly started rooting for the Charlotte Hornets. That’s because her son, Leigh High School grad Sam Farber, is the new play-by-play radio announcer for the NBA team in North Carolina.

Article Author : Sal Pizarro

Posted On : 16 January 2021

Source : View Full Post Here