Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences junior Jamie Levin said she established Boston University’s Challah for Hunger chapter to create a network for social action in which students of all faiths could become involved.
“The principle is to make really good challah and have people buy it, knowing that their money is going to a charity organization,” she said. “I was head of social action at [The Florence and Chafetz] Hillel [House], and I wanted there to be something that everyone felt like they could join in where they didn’t have to be Jewish.”
Challah for Hunger is a national organization that exists on many college campuses across the U.S., Levin said. The club bakes challah — traditional Jewish bread — and sells it, donating the proceeds to charities.
BU’s chapter gathers at least once per month to bake, braid and sell challah, Levin said.
“We advocate for having fun while also working to achieve global justice,” said College of Arts and Sciences freshman Allison Penn in an email. “We want to be able to help as many people as we can who may be afflicted by hunger or disaster through our baking.”
Penn said members hope to meet twice in April to sell challah and raise money for charities.
Proceeds are split between the National Challah for Hunger Charity, American Jewish Worlds’ Service Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund and an organization of the members’ choice, she said.
College of General Studies freshman Shannon Stocks said one of the group’s most exciting activities is its Challah for Hunger Week.
“Once a month we have ‘Challah for Hunger Week,’” she said in an email. “Monday we buy ingredients, Tuesday we make the dough, Wednesday we put extra flavorings into the bread [such as] chocolate chips, raisins [and] cinnamon sugar and braid it into challah. Thursday and Friday we sell the bread.”
Stocks said the group is comprised of both student volunteers, who donate their time when they are able to do so, and student leaders, who organize the group’s efforts.
“There are maybe 12 involved Challah for Hunger Leaders and our number of volunteers fluctuates every month. We get volunteers from fraternities, sororities, other organizations on campus, random visitors and [School of Management] students,” she said.
Stocks said if demand increases, the practice of Challah for Hunger Week can be performed every one or two weeks.
“We hope that the number of volunteers increases over time and that we always sell a lot of bread to raise the maximum amount of money for charity,” she said.
Kara McGuire, a College of Communication graduate, said she and Levin founded BU’s chapter during the fall 2011 semester.
McGuire said BU was a perfect location for the national organization to establish a campus chapter.
“Overall, by being a co-founder and coordinator for BU Challah for Hunger, I was able to bake a lot of bread, spend time with my friends in a way that also helped a great cause and help so many people in need,” she said.
Sydney Forman, a COM freshman and Challah for Hunger leader, said one of the group’s greatest benefits is its community building.
“It’s really just about bringing people together to come and help out,” she said. “We encourage students to get involved and are open to any new suggestions from new volunteers.”
Volunteers can become involved by making dough, adding flavor, taste testing or selling, Penn said.
“As this is only its second year at BU, it is still getting started …” Penn said. “As for the future of this club, I hope it gets stronger and more prominent at BU and at the Hillel because it is such a great thing to be involved in.”
Brian Latimer contributed to the reporting of this article.