The Companions of the Way are part of the Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra, who serve as the staff of Dorothy's Place Hospitality Center in Salinas, CA. The Companions work as full-time volunteers with people living on the street and we live together in a Community inspired by the Catholic Worker movement.
With love, respect and compassion, the Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra provide essential services and transitional support to people experiencing the injustice of homelessness and extreme poverty.
Some of the Companions are here to work for social justice, some as an expression of deeply held spiritual values that lead us to serve our fellows, and some because we value living in Community as part of our personal growth. Companions of the Way are also committed to living simply. We are one of hundreds of intentional communities nationwide that perform service with very little compensation.
The Franciscan Workers programs we serve:
Dorothy's Kitchen opens at 8:30 in the morning for a hot breakfast for our guests, serving around 150 each day. The Kitchen also serves lunch every day of the week at 1:00. We average 200 lunch meals daily.
Dorothy's Day Shelter at Dorothy's Place Hospitality Center is designed to be a gathering place where street people and other guests can socialize. They may take care of basic hygiene and health needs and access other services geared towards helping them live with dignity and offering support in taking next steps in their lives.
Women Alive! Emergency Shelter is committed to women living on the streets. The primary objective of the program is to create a safe, non-judgmental, nurturing space for women beginning with an emergency overnight shelter.
The House of Peace is our transitional housing program, located on the second level of Dorothy's Place with the administrative offices of the Franciscan Workers. Our residents are former guests of Dorothy's Place Hospitality Center.
St. Clare's Corner opened in 1982 to provide household goods, clothing, and food to families in need who live in the general neighborhood of The Mercy Center in Salinas. St. Clare's is open during the winter months of high unemployment among farm workers, from October through April. By offering this assistance, St. Clare's serves as a necessary buffer to help families through these difficult months. St. Clare's Corner continues our vision of neighborhoods of mutual aid.
@Risk Artisan Gallery (La Perla Books and Coffee) is a place where art is practiced and shared. Whether therapeutic, recycled, practical or mystical, modern or anti-modern, world class or anti-class, @RisK is art of, by and for the people. We feature work by the street people in our Chinatown neighborhood, on consignment with 75% of the proceeds going to the artist, creating income for those with barriers to employment. La Perla is an adjoining reading room and snack bar run by volunteers.
Youth Alive! offers year-round academic support and recreational activities at a farm worker community (Campesinos Jimenez y Camphora) in Soledad, CA. With youth and parents we have co-created a culturally responsive curriculum that:
- focuses on literacy in language arts, science, and math;
- decreases isolation and marginalization of youth and families through field-trips with cultural, social, and environmental foci;
- honors the history, culture, and experiences of the community;
- supports creative expression of youth and families as a means of reclaiming dignity and voice, healing, and celebration.