Students fed themselves and helped feed others during the Yale Challah for Hunger’s inaugural sale, which took place on Cross Campus Friday afternoon. Originally slated as a two-hour affair, the challah-eating event ended prematurely as all 59 of the freshly baked loaves, prepared by students in the Silliman College kitchen the evening before, were sold within half an hour.

Challah for Hunger, a national nonprofit organization that aims to fight hunger both locally and worldwide, has more than 80 chapters across American college campuses. Half the proceeds from each sale go to Mazon, a national Jewish nonprofit that responds to hunger issues through policy work and advocacy. The other half benefits the New Haven–based Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen — a choice that “made sense,” Yale chapter founder Gabby Deutch ’18 said, considering its proximity to campus and ties to the New Haven community.

Friday’s bake sale raised more than $260. Given the success of the first sale, the chapter plans to host more of them either once or twice a month, including another bake sale before spring break, Deutch said.

“The sale went great,” Deutch said. “We had no idea what to expect. … We’re really excited to do this again soon and sell even more.”

Deutch, who became familiar with the organization through her sister’s involvement with its Vanderbilt University branch, said beginning a chapter at Yale represents a way to get involved in “something social justice–oriented” in her final semester of college “in a Jewish way.” She heads the organization alongside Ruth Schapiro ’19 and Zoe Posner ’21, who she said will carry the chapter forward after she graduates in the spring.

Schapiro, who bakes challah regularly with the Sisterhood of Chabad at Yale, said it is great to see people bake challah to benefit charity, rather than “just [taking] it home” and eating it. Schapiro said she hopes Challah for Hunger will inspire people — whether Jewish or not — to venture outside the Yale bubble.

Posner called the initiative “a really fun way to make a positive contribution.” After receiving an email about it from Deutch over winter break, Posner decided to become a part of Challah for Hunger because she saw it as a “charity-focused” way to expand her involvement in the Jewish community.

In addition to Schapiro and Posner, many younger students, who heard about the organization from Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale emails and through Facebook, have expressed interest in getting involved, Deutch said.

“A lot of people who reached out are first years and sophomores who are sort of looking for a Jewish thing to do,” Deutch said. “This isn’t something that happens at Slifka — baking challah — and I think a lot of people connect to Judaism that way.”

Lily Dodd ’21 said she decided to get involved with Challah for Hunger as a way to “expand [her] circles” in the new semester, to get more involved in Jewish life and to help the community.

Challah for Hunger was founded at Scripps College in 2004.

Asha Prihar |

Asha Prihar served as managing editor of the News during the 2019-20 academic year. Before that, she covered community service, Yale's professional schools and undergraduate student life as a staff reporter. She is a senior in Silliman College studying political science.