St. Paul’s celebrates reopening of kitchen used to feed hundreds each day in Palm Springs and beyond

The kitchen, used by cooks for Well in the Desert, was shuttered for weeks during the summer for a remodel and deep cleaning.
Rick Tinsley waits to cut the ribbon celebrating the re-opening of the kitchen at The Church of St. Paul in the Desert as Rev. Victoria Hatch reads a dedication on Sunday, Nov. 27.

A crucial kitchen in Palm Springs is back in action following a brief closure that allowed for a remodel brought on by issues that forced its closure. The facility at St. Paul in the Desert celebrated the remodel on Nov. 27 with an official ribbon cutting.

Looking to address issues that brought about its closure, the kitchen was shuttered for weeks during the summer for a remodel and deep cleaning. Led by Rick Tinsley, the director of food and nutrition at Eisenhower Hospital and a member of the church’s Kitchen Taskforce, church leadership prioritized getting the kitchen back up and running to meet the requirements of the Riverside County Health Department. 

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It was also essential that the kitchen be up and running to meet the needs of those who use it most – the cooks at Well in the Desert, who prepare hundreds of hot meals each day in the space that are later offered to those suffering from food insecurity.

Once back open, Tinsley and the “Kitchen Care Team” met to do volunteer training focused on how to empower the Well in the Desert to keep the new equipment and space clean. The crew also came together to repair a water heater and the large commercial refrigerators in the kitchen. The team plans to continue weekly check-ins to ensure the kitchen is meeting the required standards.

The work being done in the kitchen is some of the most important in the larger community. Monday through Friday, meals are cooked at St. Paul’s and then transported to delivery sites throughout the city for disbursement. On Wednesdays, meals are also served in the church’s parish hall — feeding hundreds each week. 

“This kitchen remodel is a significant outreach within the larger community,” said Tom Clarke, a member of the Kitchen Care Team. “It’s making Jesus’ commandment to love one another concrete.” 

St. Paul’s history of service in the city and surrounding area dates back to its founding in the 1920s. Leaders at the church say as it expands its work of service, partnering with programs already in place, such as those run by Well in the Desert, has become a priority.

“This is what ministry is all about,” Rev. Victoria Hatch said during a brief ceremony. “It’s always outside the church. It’s never just inside the church.” 


More information: St. Paul in the Desert holds Sunday morning services at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. To learn more about the church or to get involved in its outreach efforts, visit its website at www.stpaulsps.org

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