I love bread. I love helping people. Generally, the two don't intersect, but students at Pitt have miraculously found a way to combine the two.
Challah for Hunger is a student-lead organization that bakes challah every Thursday afternoon to sell Friday morning. Here's what Alana Fayman, one of the students in the club, has to say about it.
Jillian Murphy: For those who don't know, can you tell me a little about your organization?
AF: Sure, so Challah for Hunger is a national organization. There are over 80 chapters throughout the country. What we do is every Thursday at Hillel (the Jewish Community Center) we make challah which is a traditional type of Jewish bread.
We do different flavors every week; we do plain loaves and we also do sweet and savory loaves. We sell it on Fridays in the (William Pitt) Union to student and faculty, and we donate 100% of proceeds to hunger relief.
Wow, 100% of sales? How does that work?
AF: We're very lucky, Hillel supplies all of our ingredients for us. They also supply all the equipment, we use their kitchen too. We don’t spend any money on the ingredients so that way we can give every single penny to charity.
That's so great. Why challah, is it religiously significant?
AF: In Judaism, it's always a good deed to like give back to others. Challah is a traditional food that you eat for every Shabbat on Friday night and also on holidays. Even though I'm not sure exactly why challah, everyone loves bread.
Definitely! Similarly, does religion play into the organization as a whole a lot?
AF: Honestly, I don’t think so because although we bake at Hillel and we're affiliated with them, most of our volunteers and a lot of people that buy challah aren't Jewish.
Also, a lot of times there's more non-Jewish people buying challah than Jewish people, so I don’t think religion really plays a role. Everyone loves getting involved, and everyone loves buying from and supporting us.
That's interesting you mention that. As for the charity, how do you decide who to give to?
AF: There's a bunch of organizations in the Pittsburgh area, but there's not a million of them so we usually end up repeating organizations. We decide where to donate to and then just tell the national branch and they donate the money there.Squirrel Hill Food Pantry is a big one, we donate to at least once a year. Last semester we donated to 412 Food Rescue, an organization that picks up food from Hillel and donates it.
Do you find food insecurity is a big problem on campus and in the general Pittsburgh area?
AF: We're targeting general food insecurity, but this semester we’re specifically targeting food insecurity on college campuses. Challah for Hunger's national branch is doing this whole program called The College Hunger Project, chapters are encouraged to participate and spread awareness about food insecurity specifically on their campus.
Many thanks to Alana for the wonderful interview and to Challah for Hunger as an organization for taking a stand against food insecurity. They sell weekly on the ground floor of the William Pitt Union (or outside the WPU when weather is good) every Friday from 11-1 pm. Stop by to enjoy some some delicious, fresh challah and support a good cause at the same time.