Companions of the Way - an intentional community
Our Companions Community is experiencing a rebirth, and we are actively seeking new members. Please see our Contact page for more information!

The Companions of the Way are part of the Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra (a 501c3), who staff Dorothy's Place in Salinas, CA. We are full-time volunteers serving people living on the street and we live together in a small Community inspired by the Catholic Worker movement.

The Companions work for social justice as an expression of deeply held spiritual values that lead us to serve our fellows while living simply and mindfully in Community. We are an inclusive interfaith group who support each other in practicing our diverse traditions with the common goal of manifesting our faith in our daily lives and service.

We support this mission: 

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. 
We serve these programs: 

Dorothy's Kitchen opens at 8:30 in the morning for a hot breakfast for our guests, serving around 150 every day of the year. The Kitchen also serves lunch every day of the week at 1:00. We average 200 lunch meals daily. We make our meals as nutritious, tasty and visually pleasing as possible! Every person who comes to the door is welcome to partake, no questions asked.

Dorothy's Drop in Center is a gathering place where street people and other guests can socialize and connect. They can take care of basic hygiene (bathrooms, showers and laundry) and health needs, and access mail, telephones, bilingual advocacy, and case management that offers support in taking next steps in their lives. Because we are understaffed, we are currently open only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm; we look forward to being open six days a week as soon as we are able!

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 single women (including trans women). Besides emergency overnight shelter, we also offer dinner, showers, laundry, mail access and case management. We are a low demand shelter, meaning that we take almost everyone; our only requirements for admittance are behavioral, in order to maintain a safe environment. We are open 365 days a year from 7 pm to 7 am.

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 and Women Alive! Emergency Shelter. They receive intensive case management in order to help them move to better living situations. "HOP" is always open to our residents!

@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, open as many afternoons a week as possible..

St. Clare's Corner opened in 1982 to provide household goods, clothing, and food to families in need who live in the Alisal neighborhood near the Mercy Center. St. Clare's is open during the winter months of high unemployment among farm workers, from October through April. St. Clare's serves as a necessary buffer to help families through these difficult months, continuing our vision of neighborly mutual aid.

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.

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