“Identity is cause;
brand is effect.”
The Bethlehem Center, formerly known as Sister Ursula’s Kitchen, was established in 1985. Just north of where the Bethlehem Center is now, Sister Ursula opened a small kitchen in an old two-story building. Located north of the city limits, eighty or so individuals were fed daily.
In 1987 Sister Ursula retired and Sister Kenneth took over the directorship and the Center became known as the Good News Center. That same year Sister Kenneth purchased the present-day Bethlehem Center building and eventually acquired the surrounding property to expand services to the needy of the community.
At one time the Bethlehem Center used two mobile homes to temporarily house 10 needy families at a time. The families were provided food at the dining hall and were required to go out each day to search for employment while childcare was provided during the day. As the years went on additional services were added, such as health care and immigration services. In 2011 the Catholic Church of Visalia assumed responsibility for The Good News Center and renamed it the Bethlehem Center.