Hildie’s Helpers Provided Thanksgiving to 55 East Baltimore Families
IND’s largest Christian service club, Hildie’s Helpers, provided Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings to 55 East Baltimore families today. The 150-member group is led by beloved School Sister of Notre Dame (SSND) Sister Hilda “Hildie” Marie Sutherland.
Each year, Hildie’s Helpers provides food to families in need living in Latrobe Homes, the housing complex across from IND. “Sr. Hildie meets with the housing authority, as well as with Catholic Charities to discuss who will receive the boxes of food each year,” said Hildie’s Helpers President Kayla Pahl ’15. “Hildie also makes sure that any neighbors who come to the steps of the school are taken care of as well.”
Turkeys are donated by the IND Fathers Club, which holds fundraisers throughout the year, and individual students’ families. Students decorate the boxes that the food will be delivered in, and place them in the hallways of the school beginning in early October. Students, parents, teachers, staff and alumnae continue to fill the boxes until Thanksgiving week when the boxes are delivered—full of the traditional food served on Thanksgiving. This year, there was enough of an overflow to send food to four organizations that collect for those in need.
Forty percent of IND students—or 150 girls—are members of Hildie’s Helpers. From Sr. Hildie, they learn to regard those who have less with respect, kindness and love. In addition to the Thanksgiving outreach, Hildie’s Helpers distribute Christmas gifts, Easter baskets, clothing and food. The girls donate, prepare and directly give food wherever they find people in need—a transformational experience.
Sr. Hildie lovingly refers to the people in Latrobe Homes as “her people.” In 1949, when she was 17, she was named the “out sister”—the one who would take care of the poor outside of IND. That has been her mission ever since. To her, Hildie’s Helpers brings joy and giving. She said, “God said ‘you always have the poor with you so take care of them.’” Her love of God is reflected in all she does and she instills this love of service in the girls who work with her.