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Partnership, Service and Challah in Gettysburg

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This story comes to us from Challah for Hunger, a not-for profit organization with over 75 active chapters around the globe, mostly based on university campuses, that bakes and sells challah bread and uses the proceeds to support social justice causes.

Micaela Edelson is originally from Salem, Oregon and is currently a junior Environmental Studies and Public Policy double major with minors in Political Science and Peace & Justice Studies at Gettysburg College. In addition to coordinating for Challah for Hunger, Micaela is the Co-Vice-President for Gettysburg’s Hillel, will be leading an Immersion Project to Nicaragua through the Center for Public Service (CPS), is a participant of the Eisenhower Institute’s Inside the Middle East program and is the treasurer for the co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. 

Below, Micaela shares her experience as part of the Challah for Hunger chapter at Gettysburg College. The Gettysburg chapter has been particularly proactive in partnering with local organizations to fight hunger together.

1. What motivated you to be a part of Challah for Hunger?

We participated in an alternative break trip with the Jewish Farm School in Philadelphia exploring food justice issues from a Jewish perspective, and while there, we met Carly and she introduced us to Challah for Hunger. Food access is a big issue in Adams County and we already have several initiatives to address hunger through the Center for Public Service (CPS), such as Campus Kitchen (our local ‘charity’).

Several of the trip participants decided to be a part of Challah for Hunger because it seemed that the organization lined up perfectly with who we are and what we wanted for the campus. We were Jews who are passionate about sharing our culture and about addressing hunger issues.

2. What has been your favorite Challah for Hunger experience?

My favorite part of the Challah for Hunger experience is making the Challah dough. It is such a stress-relief to knead Challah dough for six minutes after a long school day. We make the dough on Mondays, so it’s a nice break from work when everyone’s transitioning back into the work week.

I also enjoy educating people on campus, both about hunger issues and about Jewish culture. I have corrected so many people about the pronunciation of Challah (hälə) and explained why we eat the Challah.

3. What have you learned from partnering with other social justice organizations?

We currently partner with Campus Kitchen and South Central Community Action Program’s (SCCAP) Work-Ready program for adults who are working to reduce barriers to employment and gain job skills. We make the Challah dough in Campus Kitchen and then Work-Ready participants braid and bake them the next morning.

I have learned that there are so many different organizations devoted to addressing social justice issues, and while they all have the same goal, the approaches all vary. Campus Kitchen repurposes food to give to those who are hungry; they address both food waste and hunger issues. SCCAP,and specifically the Work-Ready program, addresses food access first by addressing poverty by helping people to learn skills and get jobs. And of course, Challah for Hunger addresses food justice issues by enabling organizations such as Campus Kitchen and Mazon to make a difference.

I think it is so amazing to see different organizations with the same goals working side by side to address hunger.

4. What’s the most challenging part about leading your chapter? What’s the most rewarding?

The most challenging part about leading the chapter is still figuring out the supply and the demand of the Challah and how much ingredients we will need to make how many loaves. Of course we are still new to this, and I’m sure the knowledge will come with experience. The most rewarding part is when I receive emails or comments from customers who say how delicious the Challah is!

I want people to buy the Challah not because they want to make a difference in the community (which they should), but because they truly love the product! I want it to be a win-win situation—win for the customer and win for Campus Kitchen and Mazon.

5. How do you plan to apply your experience after college? What impact do you hope to have on your local community? On the Jewish community?

I do not yet have plans after college, but I do know that I want to continue addressing social justice issues. For the time being, I am not only focused on the donations generated from the Challah sales (even though it does help Campus Kitchen and Mazon), but rather, I’m hoping to educate campus and community members that food access issues is prevalent in Adams County and internationally.

Additionally, I think it is important for people to know how easy it is to help. We wanted to help and within several months, we became an affiliated chapter of Challah for Hunger. Either by making Challah dough for two hours every other week, or purchasing the Challah for $5-6, we’re making a difference.

With regards to the Jewish community, I hope that we have exhibited that even though we are small (4% of the campus), we are mighty!

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.