It all started on…

April 7, 1982 when a small group of Catholic Worker volunteers distributed 65 egg salad sandwiches from the trunk of their car on Soledad Street in Salinas, an area known for abandoned buildings and abandoned lives.

In fact, April of 2018 marked 36 years of service for that same group that became the Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra. Over time, we created Dorothy’s Place in Chinatown, created a free health clinic for the poor, succeeded in creating a walk-in emergency shelter for street women in Salinas, and created a successful community of formerly broken and abandoned lives now living together in mutual support in the House of Peace.  October 2016 saw the opening of a pilot health facility, the Chinatown Health Services Center, where we encourage numerous medical, mental health and social program providers to join us in service to the poor and homeless.

Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra, a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation, was named intentionally to honor St. Francis of Assisi, who had a special affinity with the poor, and Father Junípero Serra, the Franciscan friar-missionary that pioneered the Central Coast region of California. We’re proud of who we are and what we do. And though we’ve been in existence for more than 36 years, we have no problem answering the following frequently asked questions:


Why are we here?

We exist to serve our marginalized neighbors throughout the Monterey County area, and have a special affinity with people that have been long-time homeless. We compassionately offer hospitality, safety, guidance toward a life of greater health and happiness, and a bridge to services they might feel are unavailable to them elsewhere. Our goal is to compassionately assist everyone with a desire for a healthy and sustainable life into permanent housing.


Why are the Dorothy’s Place programs needed?

The people we serve need friends who understand that they have been traumatized. They also need health and housing experts that can inspire and motivate, yet move at the pace they feel safe with. Everyone has a human right to safety, dignity, and purpose.


Why should the community care?

The way many people in our neighborhood live affects everyone in the community ethically, morally and financially. We cannot be successful as a community until life for everyone is just and healthy.




General Item Donations

We have a constant need for donated items including toiletries, laundry soap, new socks and new underwear, and gently used shoes, blankets, jackets, pants and shirts. We don’t currently need bars of soap – we have a lifetime supply in our storage unit!

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

Our individual volunteers are a huge help in supporting our programs. You may choose to come once a week, twice a month, or monthly to participate with Dorothy’s depending on your schedule and our program needs. As a volunteer, you will contribute your time and talent, doing both small and large tasks, and in the process we emphasize that you get to know the guests we serve and begin to become part of our community. We need people to be greeters, good listeners, kitchen helpers, floor sweepers, resume writers, database managers, and much more!

Additionally, as a community of people bound in service to the poor, we are always looking for professionals with special expertise to join us in service.  If you have professional expertise in any area that you believe could be of help to the poor, please consider donating your time and experience.  Some areas of need include:

  • Medical/Dental
  • Mental health
  • Counseling
  • Art
  • Music
  • Hair care/personal care
  • Building maintenance/electrical/mechanic contractor
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising
  • Website Design

If you’re interested in volunteering, please complete our on-line application or contact our Office Manager by email or phone, (831) 757-3838.