Jeff reflects on his board service


Jeff Marks, Binghamton alumnus and Senior Associate at KPMG, reflects on his experience serving on the Board of Directors.

When I stumbled upon a student group called Challah for Hunger during my first month as a freshman at Binghamton University in 2009, I never imagined I would be writing this blog post to share with you my incredible experience serving as a board member.

From the moment I first encountered Challah for Hunger, I thought it was awesome that students were baking and selling challah bread to raise funds and awareness about hunger-related issues, and I instantly wanted to be part of the team. I was involved all four years of undergrad, including senior year as a chapter co-coordinator, and was part of the sales team during graduate school. After graduating, I stayed involved as a member of the Fundraising Committee and as a Chapter Advisor. When given the opportunity to apply to be part of the Board, I eagerly said yes! Why? I knew first-hand the positive impact Challah for Hunger has on the local, campus, and Jewish communities.

Over the last two years, I have been able to cultivate and practice invaluable leadership skills with some of the most talented and motivated people I’ve encountered including the organization’s Board, CEO and staff. I engaged in our relationship-building efforts as part of our Fundraising Committee and as a Board member, monitored financial performance throughout the year as a member of our Finance Committee, and crafted the Board’s meeting minutes to document key votes and decisions to continue the organization’s positive momentum while serving as Secretary on the Executive Committee.

I leveraged my experiences as a campus chapter leader to understand and contribute to the organization’s core values, operations, and strategic direction. I am proud to have served during a pivotal time for the organization, as we continue to grow and expand our campus chapter program and the Campus Hunger Project, which aims to address the issue of food insecurity on college campuses.

Along the way, I have made lasting friendships and connections with like-minded leaders. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished as a team, and look forward to remaining involved and contributing to the continued success, growth, and positive impact of Challah for Hunger.

Thank you, Jeff, for your service!

Challah for Hunger welcomes 6 new board members

Join us in welcoming our newest board members, a diverse and talented group of individuals: Maya, our student representative from Miami, Sophie, a dedicated alumna from UNC Chapel Hill, Eileen, a volunteer who has helped us grow our Social Change Bakery and Giving Circle programs, Wendy, a parent of current superstar Jenna at Oxy and nutrition advocate, Claudine, a PR & Communications expert and Ariel, who bring hers experience with strategic planning. 

We also share our gratitude to several board members who are finishing their board terms: Kate Forester, Jeff Marks, Caryn Roth and our student representative, Jordan Friedland. Thank you for helping us #bakeadifference with your energy, leadership and passion for our work. 

Visit our Board of Directors Page to view our full board for 2017-2018.

Defining Failure More Fairly

The New York Times article “On Campus, Failure is on the Syllabus” (June 24) about efforts by colleges to teach coping skills to high-achieving, helicopter-parented students paints a worrisomely narrow picture of today’s college student.

In this piece, higher education administrators describe how initiatives like anti-stigma campaigns and special apps were developed in response to the rising tide of students struggling to adjust to campus life. Administrators cite childhoods jammed full of extracurriculars, stellar report cards and ceaseless praise from parents and teachers as the reasons that college students today are underprepared to deal with failure.

But according to recent surveys of campus food insecurity and housing insecurity by prominent scholar-practitioner Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab and her colleagues at the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, today nearly 20% of American college students at four year universities and two-thirds of community college students have far more pressing things to worry about: whether they will fail to afford enough food for the week.

We must not dismiss the increased rates of anxiety and depression among teenagers and college students. Colleges that have strengthened campus mental health resources should be commended. But universities must think more inclusively and long-term about funding evidence-based programs that serve the needs of all their students and not just those who worry about getting a B on a test instead of an A.

Emergency grants of even $100 can go far for a student who would otherwise be forced to choose between paying for a textbook or paying for groceries. Other policies may include training staff to assist students to apply for public benefits and implementing systems that proactively identify and track at-risk students.

Let us not discount “special snowflake syndrome” but rather focus on building a future where a student’s “uniqueness” is broadly defined to include their financial background in addition to past academic performance, as well as national origin, race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Most crucially, campus professionals, faculty and higher education administrators need to build opportunities for students from all along this “uniqueness spectrum” to learn about each other’s wide ranging backgrounds in environments of empathy and respect.

Apply to join our National Board of Directors

Your voice matters to us. This is why we are looking for a
student representative to serve on our national Board of Directors.

The Challah for Hunger Board of Directors is a group of committed
volunteers who are responsible for overseeing the organization’s activities. Board members meet periodically to discuss and vote on the affairs of the organization.

Two years ago, we added two student members in order to ensure that the student voice is represented in big picture conversations. We currently have one student representative (Rachel Quinn from Binghamton) and are
looking for a fantastic leader to fill the other position.

Interested? Read about the Roles & Responsibilities and then submit a short application by June 10, 2017.

With gratitude,

Attention Students and Alumni: Take A Look at Our Surveys!

Every year, we send current student leaders and their volunteers a survey. The survey always provides us with helpful feedback. Thanks to the students who fill it, we’ve been able to improve our resources and strengthen our community.

Take the Student Survey here. 

For the first time ever, we are also releasing an alumni survey to better understand where our alumni are today and how CfH has shaped their lives post-graduation.

Take the Alumni Survey here.

From Cooking to Advocacy on Campus

Arielle Pearlman is a senior at Colgate University, graduating in May with a double major in Psychology and Spanish. She is a board member of Challah for Hunger at Colgate and serves on of the Student Planning Team for the Campus Hunger Project.

“Until the past few years, the problem of college students experiencing hunger and food insecurity received little attention and was under-researched. Coming from a private liberal arts college, this type of hyper-local hunger was never really on my radar.”

She reflected on her experience on The Charles and Lynn Schusterman
Family Foundation
 blog. You can read her full piece here.

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 issued a statement. Read our full statement here.


Celebrate the #ChallahDays

Our goal is to expand our network to 100 active chapters by the end of the 2016-2017 school year and you can help make this possible!