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  • Writer's pictureCory F


A huge thank you everyone who contributed resources, time, and energy to make the event so enjoyable. An extra big thank you to the family that donated 60 chocolate bunnies, 400 eggs, and enough candy to fill all of the eggs!



The Empty Tomb by George Richardson
The Empty Tomb by George Richardson

“…He is not here. He has risen!” It is Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day, the day on which we remember and we celebrate the defeat of death. Here is how one author re-tells the story of that first Easter: Early Sunday morning, one of the friends comes back with rags and a jug of water and a box of the grave spices that are supposed to cut down on the smell. She's braced for the task. But when she comes to the grave she finds that the linen's been thrown into the corner and the body is gone. Evidently anonymous burial isn't quite anonymous enough, after all. She sits outside in the sun. The insects have woken up, here at the edge of the desert, and a bee is nosing about in a lily like silk thinly tucked over itself, but much more perishable. It won't last long. She takes no notice of the feet that appear at the edge of her vision. That's enough now, she thinks. That's more than enough.

Don't be afraid, says Jesus. Far more can be mended than you know. Far more can be mended than you know.

Amen. May that be so.

As wars rage, as people die alone on city sidewalks, as kids are gunned down in schools, as death and darkness and destruction still seem so bright in our world—

May God heal, mend, and resurrect far more than we could even imagine or hope for.




Meet Dominique.

Domonique is a poet and writer who began writing at age 10 because she had nobody safe to talk to. Now at age 19, she speaks with a strength of voice and clarity of thought that captivated a room of people at our recent Humanity of Homelessness storytelling event at Salem Hospital. Domonique spoke to more than 50 people about using her lived experiences with abuse, violence and houselessness to support, assist and advocate for vulnerable youth experiencing, surviving or recovering from the same.

As a member of Backbone, a Homeless Youth Action Board comprised of members with lived experience advising on policies and practices impacting youth housing stability along with organizing youth-focused projects and initiatives—Domonique knows the power of storytelling. Although we at C@P feel like it was a gift to hear the optimism, focus and openness of such an inspiring youth, we ultimately celebrate that after the event, Domonique said she felt heard. Thank you, Salem for listening!




Mayor Chris Hoy cuts the ribbon during a grand opening of the Yaquina Hall Apartments, located in the former Oregon State Hospital nursing building. (Brian Hayes/Statesman Journal)
Mayor Chris Hoy cuts the ribbon during a grand opening of the Yaquina Hall Apartments, located in the former Oregon State Hospital nursing building. (Brian Hayes/Statesman Journal)

From the Statesman Journal: Once operating as a dormitory for state hospital nurses, Yaquina Hall is set to open soon as supportive, affordable housing for some of Salem's most vulnerable residents: those experiencing or at risk of homelessness and people with serious mental illness.

The opening comes just over a year after crews first broke ground on the project. At the time, Salem Housing Authority officials said almost 4,000 people were on waiting lists for affordable one-bedroom apartments. Wait times ranged from 18 months to eight years.

The opening of Yaquina Hall will add 52 units to the city's housing stock.

In a housing shortage, families are rent-burdened, priced out of the housing market and more easily pushed into homelessness.

"Partnerships like this … that is the way forward in the Pacific Northwest and in Oregon and how we are going to dig ourselves out of this housing crisis,” said HUD's Oregon field office director Brian Guiney.




Church@thePark Easter

On Saturday, we had an Easter party for the families at the CCS site. There was an egg hunt, face painting, music, contests, art projects, pizza, and more.

The kids had a great time. Their buckets were overflowing with eggs and chocolate bunnies!

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed resources, time, and energy to make the event so enjoyable. An extra big thank you to the family that donated 60 chocolate bunnies, 400 eggs, and enough candy to fill all of the eggs!

We are always so grateful to be a part of a community that cares.

Church@thePark Easter
Atkins, shelter staff at the CCS site, paints the face of one of our younger guests



from the Statesman Journal

Hazel Patton, whose idea inspired the community project, is going to see Salem’s Riverfront Carousel building renamed in her honor. (Brian Hayes/Statesman Journal)
Hazel Patton, whose idea inspired the community project, is going to see Salem’s Riverfront Carousel building renamed in her honor. (Brian Hayes/Statesman Journal)

Salem’s famous carousel at Riverfront Park took almost six years to build. It sprang from a vision Hazel Patton had for Salem after visiting a similar attraction in Missoula, Montana in 1996. On its 22 anniversary, June 2nd, the Carousel will be renamed after Hazel.

Hazel’s idea for the Carousel was only part of a grander plan to join Riverfront Park, Wallace Marine Park, and Minto-Brown Island together. Hazel founded and chaired Friends of Two Bridges which made that dream a reality, building one bridge and rehabbing a second one that now connects about 1200 acres of play space, amphitheater, ball fields and more than 20 miles of pathways for walking and cycling. That effort helped launch annual events in the park, celebrating life and our citizens. Salem is now a magnet for those eager to experience our diverse urban landscape.

But her vision for a healthy city extends much farther than the riverfront. In 2021, in the midst of a pandemic, Hazel had another idea, to engage that same generous public who’d supported the Carousel to help house unsheltered people in Salem and Keizer. Overcoming homelessness, Hazel understands, will take longer than it took to build the Carousel. But like the Carousel, Hazel believes that when people unite behind a project, results happen faster. And when the public is in favor of ending homelessness, the chances of success are improved greatly. So, she invited citizens to “sponsor” micro-shelter homes to help reduce the unsheltered population in Salem. Her effort raised awareness of this crucial need for housing and navigational resources to help people in their transition out of poverty and desperate living conditions. The fundraiser brought in more than $700,000 to purchase micro-shelters that are durable, dry, and safe.

For those who may not know, Hazel was named Salem First Citizen in 2014 by the Chamber of Commerce. (Click the button below to watch a surprise video in which Hazel learned of that award.) It has only been awarded 71 times. Only those with superlatives in their generosity genes receive the award.

Hazel was instrumental in the establishment and nourishment of Salem’s historic district program. She was key to saving and renovation of the Elsinore Theater. She founded the Oregon State Hospital (OSH) Museum of Mental Health which preserves history while educating next generations about mental health issues. She chaired the first board of directors of Salem Main Street and led an effort to record and document all of Salem’s living Mayors for posterity.

You can come to a celebration for Hazel at the Carousel, June 2, from 6 – 8 pm.




Say hello to Andres, billingual case manager at our family site.

Andres spent most of his life in Woodburn. He and his four siblings, including his fraternal twin, were raised by his mother. His family is originally from Mexico, specifically San Luis Potosi, and Oaxaca. Prior to joining us at C@P, Andres worked at the Boys and Girls Club. C@P partnered with the Boys and Girls Club and Andres met some of the youth from our family site. Working with some of those youth reminded Andres of his own background. “When I was growing up, my mother struggled so much to put a roof over our head. There were many times she couldn’t afford the bills. We ended up homeless and resided in a shelter around Mt. Angel. Many years have passed by but I never forgot my experiences.” And it is those experiences that pushed Andres to work with C@P. He is a bilingual case manager at our family site. “My role is to help families transition into permanent housing or into transitional programs. I also assist families pursue additional resources that can benefit them, such as obtaining their ID’s, mentor programs, and even connecting them with medical services.” Andres finds great joy and satisfaction in helping families move towards positive destinations. His supervisor said that Andres’ positive attitude, genuine care for guests, and his efforts to build strong relationships are what make him such an effective case manager.

In his free time, Andres enjoys watching anime and playing Yugioh. He also likes going on hikes and eating out at different places. About six months ago, Andres became the proud father of twin boys. His current hobby is playing with them and watching them grow. He is “patiently waiting for the sun to come out to start going out again with my little homies (My Twins).”

If he could eliminate any food from the world, it would be black licorice. “I can eat anything but not that. It honestly doesn't taste edible…[it tastes like] a piece of gum burned to an ashy crisp and left for a decade under a tire. Props to anyone that likes it.”

If you see Andres out and about, say hello! Just don’t give him a piece of black licorice!




We are excited about our next Storytelling event on Tuesday, June 28th from 5:00-6:30 at Salem Library’s Loucks Auditorium. The event will feature stories of those experiencing, overcoming, and working on eradicating homelessness.




Fr. Greg Boyle, legendary minister to L.A. gang members and founder of Homeboy Industries, one of the nation’s first large-scale re-entry and job training programs, will speak in honor of Catholic Community Services’ 85th anniversary on Tuesday, June 27th at 5:00 pm PST, doors open at 4:30 pm PST, at Queen of Peace Catholic Church.

Fr. Greg will be joined by Luis “Suave” Gonzalez, a former “juvenile lifer” who is the subject of the Pulitzer Prize-winning podcast “Suave,” and is currently an artist, activist, and college counselor in Philadelphia, PA.

The two will speak about the power and compassion of community in bringing hope to people who have little.

This event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.




We are thankful for the partnerships we have with individuals, families, churches, and businesses that provide food for our residents at our shelters.

Currently we are in need of ready to eat foods that our residents can access in our hospitality areas. Any thing non-perishable is accepted, as well as foods that our residents can microwave.

Thank you for your continuous support and helping our neighbors.




  • TAKE A TOUR: A tour of our CCS family site is a great way to see what C@P is all about. It is a chance to connect with some of our leaders and to meet some other staff, and maybe even some guests. Tours happen every Thursday at 1:30PM. Email Krystal if you or your group is interested in taking a tour.

  • VOLUNTEER: We are so thankful for a community of people who continue to donate food, clothing, tents, and supplies to our guests at C@P! We are currently looking for volunteers to help us sort through the generous amounts of donations we are receiving! If you’ve got some organizational skills, or just a desire to help, please click the button below.

  • JOIN OUR TEAM: If you are interested in working with Church At The Park, click the button below to see the open positions.

  • THE OPEN TABLE: One of our community practices is to meet every Sunday morning for The Open Table. The Open Table is a gathering for prayer, friendship, and conversation about the week’s Scripture text. Doors open at 10:30am for coffee and donuts. The circle begins at 11:00am. Community members, guests, staff are all welcome. The location is 2640 Portland RD NE.

  • HOST A PRESENTATION: How can we help you continue and deepen your connection with our unsheltered neighbors in partnership with Church at the Park? A presentation or discussion with DJ, John, Sterling or another member of the pastoral team? More information on volunteer options for individuals or groups to provide: meals, clothing donations or showers? More information on hosting Safe Parking? More information on Micro Shelters?

  • SHUTTLE TOUR FOR ALL SITES - Interested in taking a tour of all of our sites while having a conversation with DJ, C@P founder? The next available tour is on Thursday, February 23rd from Noon to 2:00PM. We have a bus with comfy seats for 12. Bring your own lunch. If you or your group are interested, send Krystal an email.


Thanks for reading.

Want to reignite the joy of childhood? Learn to live on 'toddler time.'



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