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.
Talia Berday Sacks recently joined Challah for Hunger as a Program Associate. Get to know Talia below!
Talia discovered Challah for Hunger in her first month of college when she walked into a dough making session. She never looked back. A 2015 graduate of University of Maryland, Talia majored in English, wrote about the symbolism of food in literature in almost all her essays, and spent a semester researching food history at the Smithsonian. Talia lives in Philadelphia and loves exploring—you can assume she is currently on a bakery, bookstore, yoga and park tour of the city.
1. You have been an active member of Challah for Hunger for a long time. What excites you about joining the professional team and what lessons from your time as a chapter leader will you apply to the role?
My involvement with Challah for Hunger for 3 years as a student and chapter leader at University of Maryland taught me how to grapple with and draw attention to social injustices like food-insecurity and poverty. Transitioning from a chapter role to a staff role is an incredible opportunity to support an organization that engages thousands of young people with these national and global issues every week.
As the staff member who works most closely with our chapter leaders, my goal is to share resources that push our chapter leaders to ask the tough questions. Questions like: Why do the hunger-relief organizations we fundraise for even have to exist in a country that produces a surplus of food? How can college students empower themselves and others through fundraising and advocacy? Which local nonprofits are having the strongest impacts on our communities?
2. How has Challah for Hunger changed since you first became involved and how do you see it growing in the future?
As an organization, Challah for Hunger has grown in number. More importantly, we’ve grown in resources and partnerships! On over 70 campuses, our chapter leaders are anti-hunger advocates and peer educators. In addition to the important fundraising efforts that our chapters lead on behalf of local hunger organizations and MAZON, our students are amazing ambassadors for the fight against hunger.
I see Challah for Hunger continuing to expand as a community of student leaders, volunteers, alumni and local and national partners. But as for the reason that organization exists—I hope that recent legislative and community efforts to reform and restructure our food system reduce the urgency behind our fundraising and advocacy. Starting now.
3. What’s your favorite use of food symbolism in literature? What’s your favorite historical food fact?
This is a sneaky way to expose me as a former English major! I’m going to dodge the question and say that I am continually fascinated and impressed by authors who place the most important, hilarious or definitive plot points in the kitchen or at the table.
As for a historical food fact—I alway get tripped up in novels where “dinner” means lunchtime and “supper” is the evening meal. It all goes back to when farming defined our language and lunch was the biggest meal of the day because everyone had been up working since before sunrise. I like to pretend I’m a farmer and copy this. Mostly because talking about challah with students puts you in the mood for an early lunch!
4. What’s the best piece of professional advice you have ever received?
I’m new to the professional world, so I would have to say the best piece of advice is “never be afraid to ask.” That and “never be afraid to introduce yourself.”
5. Where can you be found on a day off?
Speedwalking around Philadelphia to the nearest coffee shop, bookstore or museum. Equally likely, on the grass in Schuylkill River Park with friends and snacks.
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.