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Springfield, OR – PeaceHealth joined with St. Alice Catholic Church on Wednesday, May 19, to celebrate the opening of a new commercial-grade kitchen that will serve as a place for members of the church’s diverse congregation to build community as they prepare and share food and practice works of mercy.
The project, funded in part through a $115,000 Community Impact grant from PeaceHealth, has been in the works for more than two years. The church raised all the additional funds required to complete the nearly $400,000 project.
“This is just the beginning of a new chapter in the history of St. Alice,” said Fr. Mark Bentz, who has served as pastor at St. Alice since 2016. “I am so excited to see where God will take us in the coming years!”
Todd Salnas, chief executive of PeaceHealth Oregon, said PeaceHealth was delighted to support the project.
“Our partnership with St. Alice is close to our hearts,” Salnas said. “We share a deep, faith-based dedication to providing help and healing to those who need it most. This kitchen will promote community health and wellness and connect our healthcare and church communities with individuals in need of care, including those who are unhoused, economically disadvantaged and finding their way as immigrants.”
The new facility replaced St. Alice’s former “warming” kitchen, which allowed for reheating but not cooking food. With a fully equipped commercial kitchen, St. Alice will be able to accommodate both current and future growth – including expanded outreach activities and the St. Alice Education Center’s programs. The kitchen provides much needed workflow improvements, additional storage space, modern commercial-grade appliances, ventilation and fire safety systems.
St. Alice, the only Roman Catholic Church serving the Springfield area, contracted with Michael Soraci, AIA, owner of Agate Architecture, LLC, for pre-design and schematic design phases. He worked with a focus group of parishioners who frequently use the kitchen, and Essex Construction completed the project.
“As we cook and eat together, share food, faith, and culture together, we will realize why our Lord chose to become our food in the Eucharist,” said Bentz. “Food unites us as family. The communion we share in the Mass needs to spill out here to the kitchen and parish hall, and then from the hall into the community and the world. That’s what our mission states: ‘Seek Jesus, build relationships, and share the joy of the Gospel.’”
About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at peacehealth.org.
About St. Alice Parish: St. Alice Catholic Church is the only Roman Catholic parish serving the Springfield, Ore., community. Our sphere of responsibility is great – with a population of more than 64,000 people (newly estimated 2021) and an area of almost 16 square miles. St. Alice is a dynamic, fast-growing, multicultural parish of more than 800 families, primarily Caucasian and Hispanic, but also including members of Filipino, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian descent. Our pastor, Fr. Mark Bentz is a gifted, enthusiastic, bilingual spiritual leader who emphasizes the need for our ministry to extend beyond the walls of the church to bring more of the community into relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ. Visit us online at www.stalice.org.