All posts by Carly Zimmerman

Statement on Rise in Food Insecurity on College Campuses

Today at a town hall held at George Washington University, the Wisconsin HOPE Lab and the Association of Community College Trustees released their latest survey on food insecurity among college and university students. In response to these recent findings and to the February 23rd letter to the Government Accountability Office from Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Patty Murray and Senator Edward Markey requesting a more comprehensive assessment of this issue by the Government Accountability Office, we issue the following statement:

We are alarmed by recent findings that as many as two in three community college students[1] and nearly one-fifth of students at four-year schools are experiencing food insecurity[2]. As an organization that works directly with college students to address hunger nationally and locally, we believe that no one should have to sacrifice food for an education.

In response to these startling statistics, we developed the Campus Hunger Project. In partnership with MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, we are training student advocates on nearly 40 public and private colleges and universities to research food insecurity at their schools and educate their peers about this issue.

Today we sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), supporting the senators’ request to conduct a comprehensive study of food insecurity on American colleges and universities. We call on the GAO to collaborate with researchers and practitioners in the field and for lawmakers to lend their support.

We stand ready to offer our insight into this issue gained from over a decade of experience working hand-in-hand with campus professionals and student advocates.

[1] Goldrick-Rab, S., Richardson, J. & Hernandez, A. (2017). Hungry, Homeless, and in College: Results from a National Study of Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education. Madison, WI: Wisconsin HOPE Lab

[2] Cady, Dubick and Matthews. Hunger on Campus: The Challenge of Food Insecurity for College Students. October 2016.

Learning from the Campus Hunger Project

Since the Campus Hunger Project launched this summer, 32 chapters and counting have pledged to participate in the Campus Hunger Project, and our student volunteers have conducted 23 interviews of campus administrators to understand if and how their campuses support those in need. Sumner Schwartz, a junior and Challah for Hunger chapter treasurer at Occidental College, has been very active in the Campus Hunger Project:

Taking part in the Campus Hunger Project has been an eye-opening experience. I have learned so much about not only a problem that both my campus community and colleges around the country face but also how to bring about serious change. It’s been really cool interviewing key administrators–like the Director of Financial Aid and the Vice President of Hospitality Services–and coming up with changes that are going to help my fellow Oxy tigers.

…Through CfH I’ve learned ways to not only combat hunger in my community but how to bring about change. I’m really thankful for the strategies they have shown me in dealing with campus administrators and how to organize my community into creating real change. I know I’ll be able to use these tools and strategies in my future endeavors. 

Click here to learn more about the Campus Hunger Project. 

Losing the food safety net

There is no single root cause of food insecurity among college students. Food insecurity exists in a tangled web of issues related to income, education, race and class.

Let’s start by looking at the world of higher-education. Today, a college degree is more necessary than ever to secure a job, advance a career, and afford a basic quality of life. Out of the 11.6 million jobs created during the recovery from the 2008 Recession, 99% of those jobs went to those with at least part of a college education.

But the path to a college degree comes with challenges of its own. More than half of K-12 students in America’s public schools (almost 30 million) are low income and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. For those students that enroll in college, the food insecurity they faced doesn’t disappear when they graduate from high school.

Click  here to take action through out latest action alert.
Click here to become an advocate today!

Defining our terms: What do we mean by campus hunger?

What does the term hunger mean? When we say hunger, we are really talking about food insecurity. Hunger is the craving or physical need for food, and is one of many symptoms of food insecurity.

Food insecurity is more than hunger. College students experiencing food insecurity don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and don’t have the necessary resources, time or money to afford or access food.

College food insecurity is not a new phenomenon. In 1993, the Michigan State University Student Food Bank was founded and became the first campus-based food assistance program in the country. Since then, over 300 colleges and universities are members of the College & University Food Bank Alliance, an organization that supports existing and emerging campus food banks.

Check out the latest action alert from the Campus Hunger Project. 
Sign up to become an advocate today!

3 million college students need food assistance

Last October, we sat down with our partners at MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger to discuss ideas for a new advocacy project. During this meeting, they told us about a growing problem that nobody was talking about: food insecurity on college campuses.

As an organization that has worked with college students for more than a decade, we prided ourselves on being “in the know” when it came to working on campus. We were shocked to learn how widespread this problem is in the United States and quickly realized that if we didn’t have a clue, then our student volunteers, alumni and supporters probably also didn’t know.

This lack of awareness is just one of the reasons we decided to focus our advocacy work on addressing food insecurity on college campuses through the Campus Hunger Project. Over the next year, we are embarking on a research project on 40 campuses to learn if and how colleges are supporting students in need. We’ll use this research to develop recommendations for long terms solutions and work closely with current and new partners to make these solutions a reality.

We are also on a mission to increase awareness about this growing problem. This is where you come in. Whether you are a student, alum, partner, friend or just came across this website when you were looking for challah recipes, you can do something about this problem now. You can become an advocate for this campaign and pledge your support to spread the word to your networks. It’s as simple as clicking here and signing up for our action updates. 

Thank you for your support. We look forward to learning with you and sharing our chapters’ progress.

Carly

The Alumni Giving Circle is back!

The Challah for Hunger Alumni Giving Circle is a group of alumni who will collectively give 1-3 grants to non-profits fighting hunger in local communities. The Alumni Giving Circle will accept nominations from Challah for Hunger alumni, selecting 3-5 semifinalists to research and finally selecting 1-3 grant recipients.

Click here to learn more and nominate a local non-profit in your community! 

Click here to read Giving Circle co-leader Kate Belza’s reflection on the first year of the giving circle experience. 

Meet Nikki, our Summer Intern!

We’re so lucky that Nikki Cattan, a recent grad from West Chester University, is spending the summer interning with us! When she started, we asked her…

What brings you to Challah for Hunger?
I learned about Challah for Hunger from the Director of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs at West Chester University and the leadership summit that will occur in July. I am here to help out with the summit along with other projects for the summer and I am excited to get involved!

You just graduated from West Chester University — Congrats! What advice do you have for students entering college?

Thank you! Get involved in everything you possibly can because it will make your experience so much more fun and memorable.

What’s a cause or non-profit that is important to you? Why?

The education and awareness of HIV/AIDS. In college I participated in the Alternative Spring Break program and we went to Pittsburgh to volunteer with the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. After that experience, I learned about the virus and the stigma towards people who have it.

Welcome Nikki to the team by emailing her at Nikki@challahforhunger.org.

Breaking Bread to Make a Difference

By Marissa Stern, Jewish Exponent

“While we were looking to explore how we could expand Challah for Hunger beyond the college campus,” said Loren Shatten, Challah for Hunger program director, “it became clear JFCS was a perfect partner. They reflect every aspect of what Challah for Hunger is hoping to do. We are impressed with their commitment to regularly coming together to bake challah and their thoughtful conversations about hunger in Philadelphia.”

Click here to read the full article about our partnership with Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Philadelphia. 

5 Questions with Sarah Horwitz

For the past year, Sarah has helped us connect with new communities in Philadelphia for our “Beyond the Campus” program. As she finishes her time in Philly, we asked her about the weird, wonderful and doughy experience:

What brought you to Challah for Hunger?

I am a Fellow at Repair the World working on food justice issues through volunteering and program planning. As part of this fellowship program, I partner with organizations to create volunteer programming and to recruit volunteers. I was lucky to be paired with Challah for Hunger to help run the “Beyond the College Campus” Program. This year, I have been organizing bakes for different organizations around Philadelphia. I have been able to create curriculum teaching hunger issues and have been able to hone my challah baking skills!

Click here to read Sarah’s full interview.