UNC students bake and sell challah to fight hunger

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Students weave dough for the Challah for Hunger bake sale. Challah is a traditional Jewish bread eaten on Sabbath and holidays. 

On Thursday, UNC’s Challah for Hunger began its fifth year of selling challah in the Pit. 

Members bake and sell an average of 100 loaves of bread per sale. Each loaf costs $4, and on Thursday, organizers offered four flavors: chocolate chip, cinnamon sugar, apple cinnamon and plain. 

Challah for Hunger President Sophie Bergmann said the group, which is fully funded by Hillel, hopes to continue selling its bread while incorporating more hunger-relief advocacy this year. 

“From an organizational perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day logistics of making challah and everything that goes into this process of baking and selling,” Bergmann said. “But it’s important that everyone on campus is also informed.”

UNC’s Challah for Hunger chapter has operated since 2010, but it's part of a bigger organization nationwide. 

Half of the proceeds from sales go to Mazon, a Jewish hunger-relief organization, and the other half go to a local nonprofit of the chapter's choice. The group donates almost $3,000 each year. 

“I think the idea of being part of something bigger is really powerful,” Bergmann said. “Challah is an opportunity for students to give back on campus while also connecting with a larger cause.”

Brittany Glassberg, president of Challah for Hunger at Duke University, visited UNC's dough-making and baking session Wednesday to find new strategies for Duke’s chapter. The Duke group began baking and selling in the spring and donated $600 in its first semester. 

“We’re just coming here to check out how y’all do it,” Glassberg said. “I think (Challah for Hunger) is a really great way to get students to come together.”

Two days of dough preparation and baking lead up to each sale. The group plans to host four challah sales this semester; sometimes, they host as many as seven.

“The dough we’re making this week, we’re going to freeze, and then we’ll pull it out next week and let it rise,” Bergmann said. “We’re making dough for the next round, and we’re baking the previous round.”

Senior Nicole Frey said she volunteered for the first time two weeks ago. 

“It was a lot of fun,” Frey said. “It’s a relaxing part of the day, something to look forward to.”

Sophomore Jessie Winfree said she’s been involved with Challah for Hunger since the beginning of her freshman year. 

“It’s something where you can do direct action that leads to fighting hunger,” she said. “It’s a very good environment. You’re not just raising money — you’re producing something that you can see in the Pit the next day.”

The next round of baking will be on Sept. 30, and the next sale will be Oct. 1. 

Apple cinnamon was Thursday's special flavor, which changes each month. 

“My favorite is the s’mores loaf,” Winfree said. “The bread is really, really good.”

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