HITT at St. Francis House

Nov 17, 2011

HITT teens from Loften High School prepared and served minestrone soup at St. Francis House for a portion of the homeless population of Gainesville.  Following a recipe to feed over 100 people, the teens arrived at 8:00am to complete the necessary preparations to have the soup ready to eat by 10:00am. 

Inspired by their experience at St. Francis House, the same class was eager to create theatre based on the many issues surrounding homelessness.  Currently, they are in rehearsals for a devised theatre play focusing on homeless teens.  The piece is anticipated to be performed in early-mid January 2012.

As the holiday season approaches, please consider sending a donation of any kind to St. Francis House.  Donations are not just monetary, but could be as simple as sending common necessities.  They are always in need of food, clothing, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and more.  For more information about donating or volunteering please visit: http://www.stfrancishousegnv.org/

HITT would like to sincerely thank those who generously helped in so many ways to see this project realized: Fresh Market, Ward’s, Rainbow Produce, Indigo Green Building Solutions, and Civilization.

If you’re interested in making your own minestrone soup at home, you’ll find one of the many ways to make it below (courtesy of www.simplyrecipes.com):

Minestrone Soup Recipe


  • dried Cannellini or Great Northern Beans
  • 2 ounces salt pork or pancetta
  • 10 to 12 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 head savoy or curly cabbage, sliced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups chopped Italian styled peeled plum tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish


1 Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain beans, rinse, and place them in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add salt pork or pancetta and 6 cups of broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook gently for about 1 hour.

2 Heat oil in a separate large stockpot. Add chopped vegetables (onion, celery, carrot, garlic, parsley) and sauté gently 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add remaining vegetables and tomatoes. Add remaining 5 cups broth. Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3 Remove salt pork or pancetta from beans. Dice finely. Transfer half of the beans to a food processor or a blender and blend into a paste. Add mashed beans to the vegetables. Add remaining whole beans, broth, and diced pork to vegetables.

4 Simmer 5 minutes longer. Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 10-12, easily. (This recipe makes a lot of soup!)

Beans will absorb a great deal of liquid while cooking. Add more broth or water to replace lost liquid if needed, or the beans will stick.