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Maine Priest Named Winner of St. Hildegard Food Pantry Recipe Challenge

PORTLAND---A recipe challenge sponsored by Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry program provided an opportunity for Mainers to put their recipes and cooking knowledge to the test while helping local parish food ministries in the process.

The rules for the St. Hildegard Food Pantry Recipe Challenge were simple: all were welcome to submit a recipe for any main dish, but all of the ingredients had to be items that can be found at a local community food pantry. This year’s challenge was called “The Amazing Potato,” with each recipe required to feature the vegetable intrinsic to the fabric of Maine.

Forty entries were submitted with Fr. Anthony Kuzia, CM, pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes Parish (Our Lady of the Lakes Church, Oquossoc; St. Luke Church, Rangeley; St. John Church, Stratton; Bell Chapel at Sugarloaf Moountain, Carrabassett Valley) emerging as the winner with his “Spam and Potato Bake” creation.

Patricia McCollum of St. Raphael Church in Kittery finished in second with her “Italian Potato and Chicken Base.”

“Our Lady of the Lakes in Oquossoc will receive $1,000 to go for needs in their local food pantry, while St. Raphael Church will receive $500 for the Footprints Food Pantry,” said Susan McGaulley, the manager of the Parish Social Ministry program.

The challenge was created to support and engage the food and nutrition ministries throughout the Diocese of Portland.

“A panel of reviewers well immersed in food pantries and soup kitchens narrowed the selection based upon ingredients that would be available in a food pantry, the ease of making the recipe, and nutritional value,” said McGaulley.

“Having taken a vow of poverty on becoming a nun, St. Hildegard knew how to cook on a budget!” said Bill Wood of Parish Social Ministry. “That’s why we named this recipe contest that features food from the shelves of food pantries in her name.”

An electronic version of all of the recipes submitted will be made available for all parish food pantries and soup kitchens to use for those they serve. If you would like a copy of the recipes, email [email protected].

The mission of Parish Social Ministry is to provide leadership, guidance, Catholic social teaching education, and training to empower parishioners to compassionately serve people of all faiths living in their communities. From Kittery to Madawaska, the size and scope of the program continues to grow one successful initiative at a time through youth camps, case managers at soup kitchens, community fairs promoting strong family life, an educational series for seniors, and hundreds of other initiatives.

For more information about Parish Social Ministry, call (207) 523-1161 or visit