Fighting Hunger, one Loaf at a Time

Leah Cresswell
March 26, 2013

Friday symbolizes so much more to me than just the last day of the school week. This day is reserved for Challah For Hunger, a UA student-run community service group run through Hillel Arizona.

Nearly every Friday, I buy this delicious delicacy, challah – a braided bread made with eggs, flour, water, yeast and sugar generally served on the Sabbath and during Jewish holidays. Stopping by the Challah For Hunger booth is one of my favorite parts of the week. 

After learning about the service group, I wanted to become more involved. I started doing whatever I could to help, including baking the bread and standing out on the UA Mall for the selling process. Walking into the flour-covered kitchen and seeing everyone’s smiles always makes me feel welcome.

The Challah For Hunger members know that one in six children do not know where their next meal is going to come from. We also know that 20 percent of people in Tucson fall below the poverty level and do not have the resources to consume three satisfying and healthy meals a day.

Knowing that there are people suffering like this makes us want to help, so we bake challah Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. and sell it for $4 on the UA Mall on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Half of the proceeds go to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and the remaining 50 percent to the American Jewish World Services (Darfur Action Campaign).

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona reports that Tucson has the sixth highest poverty rate for “large metropolitan areas” in the U.S., and we are trying to make a difference in changing that.

We love to see returning customers and new faces each week. Some of the flavors that we offer are chocolate chip, cranberry, garlic, cinnamon sugar, and that's only naming a few. There have also been many creative holiday options and we enjoy hearing suggestions for new flavors.

What amazes me the most about Challah For Hunger is that it is entirely student-run and is made up of determined individuals who share a passion for helping others.

Shanan Immel, a UA Honors College sophomore studying microbiology, Spanish and German studies, is the current president of Arizona's Challah For Hunger and has high hopes for the future of this organization. Challah For Hunger is quickly spreading all over the world and the UA members are thrilled to be a part of the amazing network.

Immel sends out emails and Facebook posts every week asking for volunteers to bake and sell. Without fail, there are always plenty of dedicated students who jump at the opportunity to sign up and participate.

What we do at Challah For Hunger not only helps others, but giving back to the community makes us feel good, too. It is truly a rewarding feeling to know that we are working towards such a great cause.

Photography by Leah Cresswell

Contact: Shanan Immel at

Leah Cresswell is a UA student studying journalism and communication. She also is a student writer for University Communications, the office that manages and other public relations components and social media sites for the UA. Having been raised in Cave Creek, Ariz., Cresswell has lived in Arizona her entire life.


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