Money, Food Justice, and Challah: The Transition from Challah for Hunger to Scripps Challah

Kendall Lowery ’22

Staff Writer

If you’re as passionate about baked goods as I am, chances are that you’ve joined me in the 11am Seal Court queue for fresh Friday challah. For the past 14 years, Challah for Hunger (CfH) has sold their delicious loaves to support organizations dedicated to food justice. The club was founded by Scripps student Eli Winkelman in 2004 as a way to connect with the Jewish community during her years at the 5Cs; the organization began to spread as the second chapter was started at the University of Texas, then the third at UCLA, ultimately spanning to its current 80+ chapters worldwide. Over the course of the past 15 years, CfH has hosted leadership summits, food justice initiatives, and was even featured in President Bill Clinton’s book Giving: How each of us can change the world

However, the leadership at CfH’s founding chapter has recently finalized their split with the international organization, announcing their official name change to Scripps Challah in an email proclaiming that they were cutting out the CfH “middleman” on Sept. 30. I sat down with Sarah Sanchez ’20, one of the club’s co-presidents, to find out more about why the group decided to make this shift.

Like many CfH/Scripps Challah volunteers, Sanchez became involved in the organization early in her college career. 

“My friend Arianna and I started signing up for braiding because we’re both Jewish and missed those roots and it was a really fun activity to do on Thursday nights,” Sanchez said. “Now both of us are the co-presidents, all because of this way for us to hang out as awkward first years!” 

This intersection of bonding, baking, and free challah for volunteers is a major draw to the organization, but their impact is also felt outside of the Claremont bubble through their donations to organizations dedicated to food justice. 

“We partner with different organizations each semester this semester we’re partnering with Uncommon Good,” Sanchez said. “We donate our money to them but we also want to be able to bring them onto campus and help them spread information about their organization. We also work with groups at the college such as the Scripps Food Recovery Network we had them lead the braiding shifts and they were present for Friday sale, giving out their bags and stickers.”

This passion for advocacy lead to the bakers’ ultimate decision to break from the CfH international. Under the umbrella of CfH, 10 percent of their thousands of dollars in profit was going to the national organization. Additionally, they were constricted to only two charities that they could donate to, and one of them had to be Mazon, a charity chosen by the national board. “We support Mazon,” Sanchez said. “But we wanted to have more flexibility so that it during certain weeks we would be able to funnel all of our money to different causes. For example, during the climate strikes we wanted our money to go to specific climate organizations which is not something that is possible through CfH we needed more control over our own finances and our bank account in order to be able to do that.”

The CfH/Scripps Challah board finally decided to take action last fall, voting on the pursuit of a break from CfH and contacting organization officials. 

“We were actually able to reach out to the founding member Eli Winkleman. We had a conversation with her and she was fully in support of our break, which I think relieved everybody’s hesitancy because we wouldn’t want to dismantle her legacy even though she was no longer involved in CfH,” Sanchez said. “I think the national organization is more sad to have us leave than if we were another club we’re the founding chapter, we’ve been around the longest. This would have been our 15th year as part of their organization, so I think having us leave lowers their numbers a little bit which is sad for them, but we have to consider what’s best for the community and not what’s best for their publicity.”

Despite this split, rest assured that you can still count on your Friday challah. “The only thing that is changing is that our name dropped ‘for Hunger’ and that the money is going to a slightly wider variety of organizations,” Sanchez said. “In terms of the on-campus experience for volunteers and buyers, there’s not going to be any difference: we’re still going to be taking credit cards, cash, and hopefully Claremont cash at some point – that’s our next big project!”

Interested in volunteering? Check out the Scripps Challah Facebook group or their Instagram @scripps_challah

 or join their email list at this link:

10/10, Volume XXIX, Issue 2