The UCLA Volunteer Center Fellows have chosen Challah for Hunger as one of this quarter’s outstanding projects to receive the Mongelli Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement. Challah for Hunger is relatively new and has only been around for five years. Despite this, the project has raised thousand of dollars for various social justice causes by bringing together students from all over campus each week to bake bread.
About 80 to 90 loaves are baked every Wednesday night at Hillel and they are sold for $5 on campus the following day. The money raised is then donated to Jewish World Watch, an organization that then donates the money towards helping victims of genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur.
Challah for Hunger is open to all volunteers and anyone can show up at Hillel to help break bread. Each week, the group averages about 50 volunteers who are all coming to bake various flavors of Challah bread.
“People come regularly to bake,” co-president of Challah for Hunger Amanda Sass aid. “We even have a regular group of Holocaust survivors who recently started to come bake as well.”
A lot of the volunteers come in order to help a good cause, but they are also coming for the experience of baking itself.
“It is a very social event,” co-president Brandon Milan said. “You hang out and bake bread. The baking is also very therapeutic. You’re playing with dough all the while you’re doing it for good.”
The easiness and fun that comes with volunteering for Challah for Hunger is one of the major reasons why volunteers are showing up.
“Not only is it therapeutic, it’s just really fun,” Sass said. “You’re just focused on doing what’s good. At the same time, you don’t have to worry about leaving campus since all the baking is done in Hillel and we sell everything the next day on Bruinwalk. You just show up and meet all the new people that are coming every week. We are a super diverse group.”
For those who are interested in helping to bake for good, volunteers can show up at Hillel on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. If you would like to volunteer in a large group, contact the coordinators via the Challah for Hunger at UCLA Facebook page.