Courtesy Shepherd of the Valley Parish
J.D. De La Torre visits residents at a local memory care facility as part of the Emmanuel Project at his Central Point parish, Shepherd of the Valley.

Courtesy Shepherd of the Valley Parish

J.D. De La Torre visits residents at a local memory care facility as part of the Emmanuel Project at his Central Point parish, Shepherd of the Valley.

CENTRAL POINT — For the southern Oregon parish of Shepherd of the Valley, peace and justice has become a focus.

The church has created the “Emmanuel Project” to reach out to seniors, homebound, mentally ill, mentally handicapped, hospitalized, homeless and other marginalized people.

In 2016, the parish project supported 10 families that received food, clothing and some toys for children. Over the holiday season, parishioners delivered around 350 gifts.

The parish also reaches out to migrant Hispanic families that tend the orchards of southern Oregon, providing basic necessities like clothing and hygiene items.

The people being served are not generally people of faith, says Joyce Marks, who is directing this project. That presents an opportunity to evangelize.

“Before, they didn't give us a second thought, but now they know something about Catholics,” Marks says. “We have personally reached out into their lives and touched them in a positive way they won't forget.”