Archive for : challah for hunger

Repair the World People: Horace Bradley

In the month leading up to Passover, Repair the World is sharing stories that highlight the on-the-ground ways our fellows, volunteers, and partner organizations serve in solidarity to turn the tables on racial injustice. Today, meet volunteer extraordinaire, Horace Bradley. Then, join our Passover campaign and help us serve in solidarity by hosting and volunteering. Together we can #ActNowForRacialJustice.

Choosing to volunteer is, when you really think about it, pretty heroic. We’re all busy folks – with school, with work, with family obligations, with…life. So the act of purposefully carving out the time to help someone else, or to help a whole community or the planet is pretty much worthy of a standing ovation.

One of the things we strive for at Repair the World is to create meaningful volunteer opportunities that let everyday people (that’s all of us) become everyday heroes. We have a lot of everyday heroes who volunteer in our partner cities, but Horace Bradley is one of the most dedicated.

By day, Bradley works as a customer service agent at Target. But in his spare time over the last two years, he has volunteered regularly with Philly Farm Crew – urban farm/garden volunteer workdays which we run in partnership with the Jewish Farm School. During Farm Crew days, volunteers get their hands dirty in the soil, doing work on vacant lot gardens and urban farms around Philadelphia.

Farming is labor-intensive work that requires persistence and commitment throughout the growing season. Without volunteers like Bradley, the work of planting and harvesting vegetables, weeding the gardens, building a greenhouse, and constructing a Cobb oven (all things done during Philly Farm Crew days) simply wouldn’t happen. “Farming is a great way to commune with nature and with others,” Bradley said.

In addition to the Farm Crew, Bradley has been involved with Repair the World in a variety of other ways – baking loaves of bread with Challah for Hunger, sorting books at a public school library, and packing food for people in need. He also joined one of Repair the World’s alternative break programs in Detroit. “It was my first time volunteering so far away from home,” he said. During the trip, he and the other volunteers boarded up abandoned homes.

So what inspires someone like Bradley to make such a deep and lasting commitment to volunteering – to get bitten by the service bug? Service is a two-way street. When done well and thoughtfully, service work benefits a community in need in innumerable ways. But it also. “Repair the world has changed aspects of my life,” Bradley said. “I think about food differently thanks to Philly Farm Crew, and I’m more outgoing now. But the most rewarding aspect is just being there, helping others.”

Check out the cute video Bradley made about his experience volunteering with the Philly Farm Crew.

Repair Interview: Betsy Besser on Challah for Hunger

If Challah for Hunger had an official motto, it might be “think global, bake local.” The organization engages college students on colleges and universities across the country to bake and sell challah to raise money for local and national causes. With 67 active chapters, 16,844 loaves eaten, and $64,837 raised for social justice causes in 2013, they have proven the power of delicious bread – and committed volunteers! – to make a difference.

Recently, Repair the World chatted with Betsy Besser, a rising junior at University of Vermont to find out why she brought Challah for Hunger to her campus, how they have made it their own, and why peanut butter chocolate chip challah is a very, very good idea.

How did you first get involved with Challah for Hunger?
I grew up in Memphis, and going all the way up to Vermont for school really felt like going out of my comfort zone. I was looking for a way to connect my Jewish life, which felt familiar, to my school life. I didn’t immediately connect to the Hillel community, but then this past fall I was asked to be part of a Hillel Fellowship program that supports students in starting new initiatives on campus.

Building a Jewish community that cares about making a difference was a big part of what I wanted to do. I had seen several of my friends mention things about Challah for Hunger chapters at their universities, so I Googled it and thought it sounded really cool. I grew up with Shabbat dinner being a big part of my weekend, so I figured the program could be a great way to bring something new to UVM that incorporated my Jewish life.

How does the program work on your campus?
This past semester we baked every other week, and we would usually have about 20 or 25 volunteers show up. We make special flavors like peanut butter chocolate chip, cinnamon raisin, and cherry walnut chocolate – and we are planning to do a pesto challah next year. Last year we would bake on Wednesdays and sell challah on Thursdays, along with hummus that we also made. Most people bought the challah as a snack to bring with them to the library or back to their dorms. We decided not to sell our challah on Fridays because the Chabad on campus gives out free challah on Fridays and we did not want to step on their toes.

challahs Next year, we are hoping to partner with another organization on campus called Feel Good that sells grilled cheese sandwiches and donates the money to an organization called The Hunger Project. We’re hoping that they will start making their sandwiches with our challah, and donate a percentage of the proceeds to Challah for Hunger. We are also hoping to start focusing even more on local food. One idea is to buy locally grown apples from Vermont and make a special Rosh Hashanah challah with them.

What has the response from the UVM community been like?
People in Burlington have really embraced the idea of making a difference through food, so the students have been really supportive as customers and volunteers. There are also a lot of great local bakeries and organizations that have gotten involved. For example, King Arthur Flour, which is based in Vermont, has been incredibly generous with donating eggs, honey, and sugar. UVM also has a kosher kitchen on campus called Vermont Kosher, and the head chef there, Rachel Jacobs, has been super supportive and brought great ideas to the program.

How have the students at UVM made the program their own?
This past semester we started to build a board. There are four other women on it, and not all of them are Jewish, which is really interesting. One of our goals was to make our Challah for Hunger chapter into something with broad appeal. We have found that people are really willing to come and bake or sell challah every week, even if they don’t have a Jewish connection to challah.

challah for hunger UVM What organizations do you support with the proceeds?
Half of the proceeds to go the American Jewish World Service and the rest goes to Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, which is a local hunger organization. We decided to support their work because they make a big positive impact on the Burlington community.

Any last thoughts?
I’m really thankful for Hillel for giving me the opportunity to bring Challah for Hunger to UVM, and for their continued support. If people want to learn more, they can check out our Facebook group, Groovy UV Challah for Hunger.

Repair the World’s Top 10 Posts for Sukkot

The eight-day holiday of Sukkot – the “Feast of Tabernacles” – recalls the Israelites’ fragile dwellings during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after their exodus from slavery in Egypt.

Beginning at sundown on October 12, this “hut holiday” has many service and social justice themes: it is a joyous festival, which celebrates a healthy harvest and an appreciation for nature; it also encourages us to embrace shelter – even if it is just a hut – as both a blessing and a basic human right, and reminds us to be generous to those who are less fortunate.

Sukkot may only be eight days long, but we know these themes last year round. For some holiday inspiration, check out Repair the World’s Top 10 posts from 5771/2011 on homelessness, poverty and hunger, as well as sustainable agriculture and the environment — and share them at your sukkah tables!

Read more

Challah for Hunger Bakes with Delaware Governor Jack Markell [Video]

Challah for Hunger – an organization that raises money and awareness for hunger and disaster relief through the production and sale of challah bread – has been making waves (or rather loaves) at college campuses across the country.

This fall alone, Challah for Hunger has already baked more than 700 loaves, raising nearly $3,000 for Repair the World grantee-partner, American Jewish World Service’s Sudan Action Campaign, as well as local hunger charities chosen by each chapter. (Since being founded by Eli Winkelman in 2005, the organization has raised more than $250,000).

There are currently Challah for Hunger chapters at more than 45 campuses – including the University of Delaware, where Governor Jack Markell recently joined the students for some challah baking. Check the video out below, made by Diva Communications:

Governor Markell at Challah for Hunger from Diva Communications on Vimeo.

On a related note, Diva Communications is working on a new documentary A Peace of Bread: Faith, Food and the Future, which explores how interfaith communities are working to “make a dent in this country’s 36 million people (13 million of which are children) that are experiencing hunger.” Challah for Hunger will be featured in the documentary – which will air on ABC affiliated stations – as will Repair the World grantee-partner, Jewish Farm School. Find out more about the documentary here.

Repair the World Grants $10,000 to Bronfman Youth Fellowship’s Alumni Venture Fund

Calling all entrepreneurs and visionaries…

Repair the World is teaming up with the Bronfman Youth Fellowship in Israel (BYFI), by issuing a $10,000 matching grant to their Alumni Venture Fund (AVF). Since 2005, the AVF has provided financial support via mini-grants to more than 100 innovative projects dreamed up by BYFI alumni.

A few project highlights include:

  • Uri L’Tzedek’s Tav HaYosher: a grassroots initiative to create just working conditions in kosher restaurants.
  • Street Sights: A community newspaper written by homeless and formerly homeless individuals in Providence, Rhode Island, to build community, empower writers, and shed light on the issue of homelessness.
  • Kavod House: A residential community for Jews in the 20s and 30s in Boston, that engages in communal outreach, Jewish study, Tikkun Olam work, and activism.
  • Challah for Hunger: a national organization that engages college students in baking and selling challah, and donating profits to local charities and international relief in Sudan.
  • Urban Next Summit: A gathering in New Orleans in 2008 of young people from diverse backgrounds, discussing how to rebuild the city and establish meaningful connections between emerging and established leaders.

Read more

Repair Hero: Eli Winkelman

Who says a college student can’t change the world? When Eli Winkelman was an undergrad at Scripps College in California, she started a program called Challah for Hunger. The idea started out small: bake fresh, delicious challah every week and sell it to students and faculty to raise money for hunger and disaster relief.

The program was a hit (even former President Clinton took notice) and began to spread to other colleges. As of 2009, Challah for Hunger had chapters on 30 campuses across the country and had raised more than $130,000, with half of the proceeds going to American Jewish World Service’s Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund, and half going to local, national, or international organizations chosen by campus organizers.
Read more