Though the wafting smells of chocolate and cinnamon coming from fresh-baked challot were the same as usual, the Challah for Hunger baking session on Thursday evening was different.
Though 50 percent of Challah for Hunger’s profits normally goes to MAZON and 50 percent go to The ARK, according to the organization’s website, Northwestern Challah for Hunger chose to donate all of this week’s proceeds to support Everytown for Gun Safety in the wake of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Tables in the back of the room became centers for change as Challah for Hunger members made posters for the March 14 walkout and others typed away at a table, advocating for gun control in letters to elected representatives.
For Communications sophomore Nico Miller, who participated in the poster making for the March 14 rally because it “seemed like a tangible way that I could contribute,” the event brought together two of his passion: social action and Judaism.
“I was on the board for Challah for Hunger for the past few quarters, so I usually come on Thursdays to help out," Miller said. "I especially wanted to come this week for this event. It seemed like a good way to connect my two passions. For me, Judaism is a lot about social action, so they’re very much related.”
Danny Cooper, a Medill junior and co-president of Challah for Hunger, explained how Everytown for Gun Safety’s educational emphasis contributed to Challah for Hunger’s letter writing opportunity.
“We decided to [donate all proceeds] because Everytown is a really great organization in terms of getting people engaged and motivated in the issue [of gun control]," Cooper said. "They do a lot of great education with it, and we really used a lot of the stuff for letter writing today, which was great.”
Cooper remarked at this week’s jump in sales, saying that Challah for Hunger normally makes a third of the sales that it made this week. He attributed the increased sales to the group’s increased promotion of the event and collective increased motivation for change following the Parkland shooting.
“We got, counting the ones that we sold as extra today, like 95 [challot], which is a lot … more than we normally get," Cooper said. "I think partially it’s that we made a whole event, and we had a lot of people come out and we promoted it a lot more than most of our events. People are motivated to help out in any way that they can right now. It’d be great if we had this amount of sales every week."
Though Cooper indicated that he doesn’t have any personal connection with the shooting, aside from acquaintances who know of people who were affected by the shooting. Yet he has not lost sight of the importance of unity during this difficult time.
“I think it’s important to stand in solidarity with people who are going through this experience," he said. "Stand in solidarity … with the students who have been making this push, and I think it’s important – and I know it has been in terms of talking with people who have been affected – because when they hear that we’re doing this event, they are just so grateful that there are people standing up for something that has hurt them so much."
Cooper emphasized that Challah for Hunger’s actions this week are about more than the organization itself: they effectuate positive changes on campus and beyond related to gun control.
“It’s really just all about trying to get as much positively done," Cooper said, "on our campus and beyond."