Social Action

Blessings in a Backpack

Blessings in a Backpack Akron is the local chapter of the national organization designed to feed school children in our community that may not have enough food on the weekends. Each Friday students receive non-perishable food items, such as oatmeal, macaroni & cheese, and applesauce to take home.

Better test scores, improved reading skills, positive behavior and increased attendance have all been attributed to the success of the program.

This ministry began in 2010 providing food for 300 children at Helen Arnold Community Learning Center. Currently, we provide food for more than 1,025 children at the 8 schools – Helen Arnold CLC, McEbright CLC, Bridges Learning Center, David Hill CLC, St. Mary’s School, Crouse CLC, Schumacher CLC, Pfeiffer Elementary School and there is still a need to provide food at additional schools. On Thursday evening volunteers pack bags for the children at Helen Arnold CLC and McEbright CLC.

If you are interested in being part of this ministry, please contact Debbie Pianalto ( 330-659-0776 or or Beth Hudak (330-869-6025 or We need volunteers to pack the bags on Thursday evenings, be a team leader, or assist with administrative work. We look forward to hearing from you.

Catholic Charities Meals

Looking for a true opportunity to “give back?” Consider volunteering by preparing meals for the hungry in our community. Dinner is served on Tuesdays at Visitation of Mary Parish, located at 87 Broad Street. Lunch is served on Wednesdays at Blessed Trinity, which is located at 300 Tallmadge Avenue. Unpack food, setup, cook, serve, and cleanup. The minimum volunteer age is 13. Volunteers are also needed to bake desserts. Deserts can be dropped off  to the St. Hilary Parish kitchen by 9:00 am Monday, marked Catholic Charities Meals.

Tuesday anytime between 1:00-7:00 pm; Wednesday, anytime between 9:30 -2:00 pm.

Contact: Marie Colaner, 330-867-1055, ext. 217 or

Catholic Worker Ministry

Catholic workers provide hospitality (housing) to families in three homes in south Akron. St. Hilary volunteers are needed to perform a variety of tasks from small home repairs, major home projects, and transportation of guests to mentoring guest families. Volunteers may also answer phones at the Catholic Worker home and assist Sr. Catherine, leader of the Catholic Worker. Planning a family outing such as a trip to the park? Consider inviting a guest family.

TIME COMMITMENT: From short term to long term.

FOR INFORMATION: Kathy Paternite, 330-730-9886

Cookie Ministry

Helping to feed the hungry is the focus of families who participate in this ministry. Parishioners are asked to deliver their homemade or store-bought cookies to Cookie Ministry Cabinet in our Donation Hallway at their convenience. Cookies are needed every week! Families are also needed to sort and bag cookies on a rotating basis before delivering them on Monday morning to the Corbett Center at St. Bernard Parish in downtown Akron where they are distributed in the daily brown bag lunch program for the needy. This is a great ministry for families.

FOR INFORMATION: Jeannie Hohlefelder, 330-867-1055, ext. 213 or

Creation Care Ministry

As Christians, we believe that the Earth is entrusted to our faithful stewardship. We are not its owners, but its caretakers on behalf of God. This group works to provide the parishioners with suggestions on how the parish and the parishioners can be good stewards. The current target areas of the ministry are solid waste reduction, energy conservation, environmentally prudent land care, renewable energy, environmentally safe products, education and awareness. Success to date includes working with the school to realize a significant reduction in lunch solid waste, removing Styrofoam products from the parish and increases in parish paper recycling. The next projects will be focused on education and awareness.

TIME COMMITMENT: Monthly meetings the first Monday of the month from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

FOR INFORMATION: Michelle Edmonds, 603-502-2435 or

El Salvador Mission Group, Serving Christ through His Poor

This group organizes mission trips to El Salvador, raises funds and sets goals for helping the impoverished in El Salvador with housing, education and fair wages. The group has established a fund that will provide long-term solutions and opportunities. Our next mission trip is currently TBD. Please contact Heather Connell, if you are interested in participating in or learning more about a future mission trip.

For more information: Heather Connell, 330-665-5901 or

Eucharistic Ministers to the Homebound

The goal of our ministry is to provide presence, prayer, and sacrament to persons who are homebound. ‘Homebound’ describes our brothers and sisters in Christ who cannot come to church as a result of advanced age, illness, and/or surgery. They may live in private homes or in one of the senior living places within the boundaries of St. Hilary Parish. Diocesan training for Eucharistic Ministers and an introductory session with Beth Rado are required.

TIME COMMITMENT: Weekly or monthly commitments and annual evening of reflection.

FOR INFORMATION: Beth Rado, 330-867-1055, ext. 206 or

Fair Trade Ministry

Providing education on Fair Trade, the group also sponsors monthly fair trade sales after all weekend Masses. The St. Hilary Women of Service Ministry also supports our parish Fair Trade initiatives by sponsoring an annual Fair Trade Market during the first weekend in October which helps support artisans in low-income regions of the world. Volunteers are needed to assist at the monthly Fair Trade sales and other Fair Trade initiatives at the parish.

FOR INFORMATION: Stephen McCarthy, 330-265-7894 or


Feed our neighbors in need on the third Saturday of the month at Gennesaret, located at 419 W. Exchange Street (just East of 5 points intersection). Families with children are welcome to volunteer. Another group of volunteers makes and serves breakfast on the fourth Tuesday and if there is a fifth Tuesday of each month.

FOR INFORMATION: Saturday contacts: Tim and Debbie Miller, 330-665-4569 or or Tuesday contact: Elaine Sisler, 330-618-1434 or

Giving Tree

Each year during Christmas time our parish assists many needy women, children, and men with food, gift cards, toys and clothing for children. We ask that you share your blessings with those in need by taking a tag off the Christmas trees that are in place in the church and also the Spiritual Center a week before Thanksgiving. Please purchase new gifts that are requested on the tags. Each year we receive the names of 1200-1400 individuals from agencies and inner city schools and only one tag is made out per individual. Our Parish Giving Trees are in place in the Church and Gathering Area each year by mid-November.

FOR INFORMATION: Call the Parish Office at 330-867-1055

Knitting Ministry

Are you looking to participate in a ministry from the comfort of your own home? If you can knit and purl, we are the group for you! Our members knit hats year-round for the homeless and the refugees in our area. We knit from one simple pattern. Yarn is available. You would also be welcome at the Prayer Shawl Ministry meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 10 am to noon.

FOR INFORMATION: Cathy Kenny, 330-666-5718

Homeless Ministry

Work to end homelessness in our community. Share in the passion of this group to ensure adequate housing for all. The ministry also sponsors the annual parish Hope for the Homeless Raffle each spring to raise funds to help those at risk of becoming homeless.

TIME COMMITMENT: Monthly meetings the fourth Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm.

FOR INFORMATION: Joe and Marilyn Malick 330-836-8176 or

Interfaith Justice Committee

This is composed of representatives from four faith communities, St. Hilary, Faith Lutheran, Temple Israel and New Hope Baptist. Its primary focus is social justice as expressed in the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. This committee plans and oversees the Lenten Series, begun at St. Hilary’s some 20 years ago. The series aims to raise awareness of social injustice in our world and local community through presentations, shared prayer and small group discussion. In addition to the Lenten Series, the Interfaith Justice Committee plans opportunities for continued collaboration on social and religious events, as well as outreach, such as a day of service (Mitzvah Day).

Newly formed Actions Groups—Infant Mortality, Policing, School to Prison Pipeline(tutoring), Voting Rights, and Continued Collaboration with Faith Communities emerged from the 2017 Interfaith Series. They are additional possibilities for getting involved in advocacy and the work of the Gospel.

FOR INFORMATION: John Grossmann, 330-867-3615 or

Kids Care Club

All children and parents of the parish are invited to join this ministry of service. Kids Care Club is designed to help involve children directly with charity and community service. Previous projects have included decorating lunch bags for St. Bernard-St. Mary Bagged Lunch Program, providing school supplies for children at Helen Arnold School, making Valentine cards for nursing home residents and making Holiday Hope Chests for homeless children.

TIME COMMITMENT: A variety of projects take place throughout the year.


Open M Ministries

Open M is an ecumenical ministry in South Akron bringing faith, help and hope to those living on limited resources and those looking for a way out of poverty. They have a Free Medical and Dental Clinic. Volunteers with a medical background are needed. Every month on the third weekend, laundry detergent (which can not be bought with food stamps) is collected at St. Hilary for OPEN M. We are the only church that collects this much needed product for the clients of OPEN M. Volunteers are also needed for the food pantry and other areas at Open M.

FOR INFORMATION: Tom Farro 330-666-2524 or

Peter Maurin Center

The Peter Maurin Center, located at 1096 South Main Street, is a drop-in-center for the homeless, the underemployed and unemployed. Prepare and share meals but more importantly listen with respect, concern and support to those who come to be fed. St. Hilary Parishioners prepare and serve lunch on the third Sunday of the month. Other opportunities to serve and share meals are also available.

FOR INFORMATION: Dawn Hosick, 330-714-9590 or, Buffy McDermott for meal participation 330-670-9849 or

Respect Life Ministry

The St. Hilary Respect Life Ministry focuses on establishing a “culture of life” in the parish through education, prayer and witness. The ministry sponsors a fall baby shower collection for local pregnancy centers, a January Prayer Vigil near the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, Eucharistic Adoration and Rosary for Life. Members of the group also are invited to participate in peaceful, prayerful sidewalk counseling through the Cloud of Witnesses on Saturday mornings with neighboring parishes.

FOR INFORMATION: Randy Malick, 330-867-1055, ext. 209 or

Seeds of Change Tutoring

Make a Difference in the Life of a Child

Make a difference in the lives of inner-city children through our Seeds of Change Tutoring Program at Helen Arnold CLC, an Akron Public School at 450 Vernon Odom Blvd., Akron OH  44307.  Teens (grades 7 and up) and adult tutors are needed for after-school programs for Kindergarten and 1st Grade students on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.  Adults can also share their gifts tutoring any school day during the week at a time of their choosing.  Seeds of Change is an approved site for Confirmation and Christian Service hours and for Service Learning hours for University of Akron education majors and for work-study.

Contact: Julie Randall (330) 665-4634 or

Social Concerns Committee

Also known as the 3% Committee, this group discerns the course of social change in our community. Each year our parish distributes 3% of the parish income to organizations that help the poor, the hungry, or the needy. This committee meets quarterly, listens to presentations from the organizations and discusses where the money should be distributed.

TIME COMMITMENT: Quarterly meetings.

FOR INFORMATION: Diana Farro, 330-666-2524

St. Bernard Hot Meal Ministry

The St. Bernard Hot Meal Program provides meals for an ever increasing number of individuals and families. Volunteers cook a full course dinner, setup, serve, and cleanup. The evening offers opportunities to interact with those in need of encouragement and hope.

Our next hot meal date will be Wednesday, December 28.

FOR INFORMATION: Group I – Jim Pianalto, 330-659-0776 or
Group II – Trish Goodin-Yard, 330-310-4221 or

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul assists those in need, both inside and outside the parish community. A monthly collection from the parish is the primary source of funding for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. On the first Sunday of each month, food is collected in the church for the poor. St. Vincent de Paul accepts good used furniture to help those less fortunate. This group needs everyone’s support.

TIME COMMITMENT: Weekly meetings on Wednesday at 6:30 pm and periodic house calls to needy families with another member of St. Vincent de Paul.

FOR INFORMATION: St. Vincent de Paul 330-253-5117; Parish Office, 330-867-1055 or