A renovation of the historic church’s kitchen was waylaid by the pandemic and red tape. The community came together to get it done.
The community-serving kitchen in the Ingleside Presbyterian Church got an extensive makeover including new sinks and cabinets to a new stove and flooring in a project that started in 2019 and finished in March 2022.
The remodel is important to the operations of the historic landmark church, which includes a food bank and community center.
“That project was just tremendous as far as the future of the church,” Rev. Roland Gordon said. “As far as I'm concerned, the people that follow me and the young folks in the future, they got a brand new kitchen and it is beautiful.”
The last time the kitchen had been remodeled was in 1986. Carol Karahadian, a friend of the church, realized the kitchen needed an update after spending time with the women in the church’s congregation.
“It needed a facelift, a very bad facelift,” Karahadian said. “My brothers, who live in Los Angeles, agreed to kind of volunteer their services and to help out and we made contributions to the church and it actually turned out quite nice.”
Karahadian said that she and her family were raised to give back to the community. She oversaw the entire renovation, helping out in any way she could such acquiring city permits and other tasks.
“It wasn't just me,” Karahadian said. “The church community stepped up and my family members stepped up and all stars aligned.”
Vickie Lewis, a member of the church and retired director in the University of California at San Francisco’s Radiation Oncology Finance and Administration division, said the effort got critical support from the community, District Seven Supervisor Myrna Melgar and the Office of Mayor London Breed.
“It was really nice because we're from very diverse backgrounds,” Lewis said. “Just getting to work together on a project and just getting to know people that you don't have a lot of interactions with at times, except maybe in the workplace. Things just turned out to be really really wonderful.”
From start to finish the entire project took a few years because of the pandemic. On April 9, 2022, a grand opening for the community to check it out was held with dignitaries such as Breed and Melgar in attendance.
“This is such an important community hub,” Melgar said. “They took care of the kids during the pandemic. They fed the seniors.”
One obstacle holding up the remodel was was funding for the equipment needed to replace the stove’s hood. Meglar said she reached out to Patrick Otellini, a project manager at Swinerton Builders, to get the job done.
“It was really cool to be part of it,” Otellini said. “Faith-based institutions are so important in the neighborhoods.”
Otellini has lived in Ingleside for 20 years. He said the project was a great opportunity to meet neighbors for the first time.
“They really pulled through,” Melgar said. “It's a historic landmark so one of the things they have to do is replace the hood. That wasn’t originally in the scope of work, it was just a kitchen but the outlet to the roof had to be replaced as well.”
Lewis said the kitchen is really for the entire community since the church hosts many youth programs, senior programs and a variety of events.
“As we get older and we look to the future on how the building will be used and things like that, there's just the legacy there,” Lewis said. “Things will continue to keep going, it won't be this rundown building that nobody really uses. It's just got a legacy that just continues in the community.”
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