November Traditions Inspire Service “Neighbor to Neighbor”
In November, students and faculty prepare for Thanksgiving and honor the school’s patron saints with two significant service projects: St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Day of Service, and the Thanksgiving Food Chain.
“Our commitment to service comes out of a religious imperative to serve the needs of the poor, just as our patron saints did,” said Head of School Virginia Connor. “It’s why their feast days are marked by days of service—both Hilda and Hugh dedicated their lives to caring for others.”
Hilda of Whitby and Hugh of Lincoln were the two saints whom the Rev. Mother Ruth, the school’s founder, chose for the school’s name, and the day of service has been a long-standing tradition to honor them.
“This year, students were charged with performing service “neighbor to neighbor,” says Community Service Coordinator Lauren Paull. “This means senior residents at Amsterdam House; diners at the Broadway Presbyterian Church soup kitchen; firefighters in local Fire House 47; and all those who use and enjoy Riverside Park.
“Our chaplain, Pastor Strasser, poses the question, ‘Who is your neighbor?’” explains Ms. Paull. “This question was in the minds of students and faculty when they came together to bake, draw, sing, paint, clean, write letters and cards, and plant in the greenhouse, all in the spirit of service.”
The following week, on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the school holds its annual Thanksgiving Food Chain, which is another concrete way for students to recognize the needs of their neighbors.
A schoolwide effort, the Food Chain begins with the collection of food and supplies by students in every class. Then, on the day before Thanksgiving, students from nursery through eighth grade—along with parents, faculty, and even some alumni—assemble in Gordon Chapel, forming a human chain that winds through the lobby, out the front doors, and down the block to the food pantry. There, eighth graders sort and organize the bounty of donations that stock the pantry shelves. Patrons of the food pantry and soup kitchen pick up food and basic kitchen supplies.
“We are very grateful for the Food Chain, which supports our numerous pantry programs, our Four Star Soup Kitchen, and our culinary and nutrition education projects,” said Chef Michael Ennes, Broadway Community’s food service director.