St. Vincent de Paul starts construction on new facility

By Mary Hopkin

Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business, April 1, 2013

St. Vincent de Paul will start construction on its new, $1.5 million 16,000-sq.-ft. facility in Pasco this month.

The new facility to be built at 215 S. Sixth St. in Pasco will replace the non-profit's current headquarters at 115 W. Lewis Street.

The city of Pasco bought the current facility and will tear it down as part of the $31 million Lewis Street Overpass project to replace the aging underpass.

Sina Pierret, president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul-St. Patrick Conference, said the former building won't be missed. 

It lacks adequate heating and cooling and space, forcing clients to wait outside for services - shivering in the freezing cold of winter and having to bear the sweltering heat during the summer.

The new facility will include a 10,000-sq.-ft. steel building that will serve as a warehouse to house the facility's food bank.  It will include a walk-in cooler and a walk-in freezer, Pierret said.

A 6,000-sq.-ft. stick frame section attached to the steel building.  That portion will be the nonprofit's new office and administrative area.

"It will have room for a charity clothing area," said Pierret.  "It will also give us room for programs in the future."

The new building will have more parking and will have a shaded area where clients can wait during food distribution days.

Pierret said demand for the nonprofit's services have grown steadily since the recession started, with an average of 175 new customers each month.

Pierret said in 2012, the St. Vincent de Paul facility in Pasco provided more than $3 million in food to the needy in Benton and Franklin counties.  The nonprofit served 9,211 infants and children in 2012, 7,166 adults, 580 senior citizens and 156 homeless residents.

Pierret said the nonprofit has seen an increase in the number of homeless people and more people who are working part-time and can't make ends meet.

"We have seen customers coming back that we haven't seen for years," she said.

Romm Construction of Pasco is the general contractor on the project.  Pierret said if construction goes as planned, they hope to be in the new building by the end of the year.

Pierret said the nonprofit has raised half of the project's total cost, but still needs about $700,000 to finish paying for the project.

The nonprofit is also seeking volunteers or in-kind donations to help complete the prooject

Pierret said St. Vincent de Paul offers those in need food, emergency housing, clothing, social services and something even more important.

"It's really something intangible." she said.  "When they enter here, they are coming to a place where people care about them."

They receive respect and friendship, which gives them the dignity that becomes so important when they are trying to help themselves.

"We don't judge and they can walk out of here with a smile," she said.

For more information about the project and St. Vincent de Paul, go to the web site at