Springfield Church Kitchen May "Serve" Many Purposes
St. Alice Catholic Church in Springfield started planning last summer to turn its warming kitchen into a commercial one. While the coronavirus hasn’t changed the project’s scope, it may shift the use.
Father Mark Bentz says initially, the new kitchen was intended to build bonds within the church, which is about half Hispanic. “Sometimes it feels like you have two churches in the same house," he says, "because you have the language issue that’s the barrier. So we’ve been really troubleshooting that with our councils to talk about how do we really bring everybody together and the big solution is food.”
Father Mark says because of the pandemic, the kitchen could also serve those in need, “Depending on how things go in the next year, if the economy goes worse, if things don’t get better, we may be repositioning more toward an outreach with the kitchen.”
The campus has a history as a soup kitchen, when Catholic Community Services was there. Father Mark says a $100,000 grant from PeaceHealth got them rolling, and they’ve now raised about 80 percent of the goal. Construction should start in September, with hopes to be done by Christmas.