Compassion Connection, a ministry from Hollywood church that provides shower and personal care services to unhoused individuals in Los Angeles, started in 2013 in response to a simple question: “What resource do you need the most?” Today, Compassion Connection provides mobile shower services, hygiene products, and clothing—all at no cost.
Last fall, Compassion Connection celebrated a decade of service and the milestone of having provided more than 50,000 showers.
Southern California Conference executive officers Velino A. Salazar, president; John H. Cress, executive secretary; and Kathleen Diaz, treasurer/CFO, and West Region Director Greg Hoenes shared messages of encouragement and gratitude and gave financial support for the ministry with an evangelism gift of $2,500.
“This ministry is deeply rooted in the values of compassion, dignity, and service,” said Cress. “Compassion has legs. It’s not just an idea; it takes action, and you’ve taken that action in your commitment to this shower ministry.”
During the service, two former guests impacted by Compassion Connection shared their testimonies.
Serving the less fortunate is a fundamental aspect of the gospel that embodies the teachings of compassion, selflessness, and love for one’s neighbor.
Princess, who started coming to Hollywood church and became a guest of the Compassion Connection program in 2019, noted how the program has grown since then. “If it weren’t for Compassion Connection, I probably wouldn’t have come here and would have missed out on so much,” Princess shared. “Now it’s my turn to give back.” Princess donated six boxes and two bags full of shoes and clothes for the boutique, with plans to also donate hygiene products in the future.
“Compassion Connection was a great part of my life because it gave me a purpose,” said Eric, who first learned about Compassion Connection when unexpected circumstances forced him to live on the street. “One of the biggest things is I now attend the church as a member. I’ve been able to move forward in my life from being on the streets, going to a shelter, and now being in my housing. God has been working and dealing very well with me.” Eric now volunteers at the boutique or checks guests in for showers when he’s available.
“Serving the less fortunate is a fundamental aspect of the gospel that embodies the teachings of compassion, selflessness, and love for one’s neighbor,” Andrew Froemming, Compassion Connection director, said. “Throughout the Scriptures, we find numerous instances where Jesus encouraged His disciples to reach out to the marginalized, the poor, and the oppressed, showing that those who humbly serve others are fulfilling God’s will.”
Reflecting on Compassion Connection’s history, Froemming shared how he initially didn’t intend to start a full-fledged shower program; he just wanted to help with the resources he had available.
“Our purpose is to love on individuals,” Froemming said in his message, “to tell people they have value, they’re seen, and there’s a safe space for them.”
Toward the end of the service, Froemming and Branden Stoltz, Hollywood church pastor, thanked all the volunteers—church members, Cal State LA social work students, and other partner organizations—for their contributions to Compassion Connection over the past decade.
“The past 10 years of serving our unsheltered neighbors through the shower ministry has had its own chapters with various modes of operating and a constantly developing understanding of how to meet the needs of the people in front of us,” Stoltz later shared. “The significance of our ministry, however, comes from our presence and participation in our wider community, no matter the complication or cost we’ve come up against. I’m looking forward to the next 10 years of seeing where God will lead!”
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