Volunteers and workers from the L.A. Department of Sanitation pose in front of a mobile shower trailer on May 13 at Union church in Little Tokyo.

By ELLEN ENDO, Rafu Shimpo

On a warm spring day in Little Tokyo, 27 unhoused men and women had an opportunity to do something most of us take for granted. They took showers. 

Volunteers sort through donated shoes. Fifty pairs were donated and distributed.

It was the largest number of individuals to step into the trailer outfitted with showers in a single day since the program began, according to Showers of Love, Inc., which operates the free service for the Los Angeles Department of Sanitation (LASAN).

The inaugural Community Care Day, held on May 13 at Union Church of L.A., was a collaboration involving City Council District 14, Little Tokyo Business Association, LTBA Foundation, Dr. Ira Diamond’s Shoes for the Homeless, DBNO Helps (Down But Not Out), Shelter Partners, Japanese American Optimist Club, Higashi Honganji’s Lumbini Garden Childcare Center, and Centenary United Methodist Church.

In addition to the shower service, a team of volunteers handed out nearly 100 bag lunches, 50 pairs of shoes and socks, T-shirts courtesy of JAO and Higashi’s Lumbini Garden.

Plans are to continue the mobile showers and provide other basic services, such as medical and dental screening, assistance with obtaining ID cards, referral services, and haircuts.

Nearly 100 bag lunches were handed out.

“We are grateful to Pastor Ruben [Nuno] and the Union Church congregation for sharing their facility with us for the day and look forward to working with them again along with other faith-based institutions in the future,” said a spokesperson for the coalition.

While the LTBA Foundation prepares for the next Community Care Day, plans are simultaneously under way for the annual party for children experiencing homelessness. Since presenting its first party in Little Tokyo in 2019, the foundation has hosted more than 500 children, ranging from toddlers to teens. This year’s event will be held Thursday, Sept. 28.

The parties feature multicultural entertainment, arts and crafts, and a petting zoo in partnership with Worthy of Love, an L.A.-based nonprofit that has been holding events for homeless children since 2013.

Donations to LTBA Foundation, 250 E. First St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.

Photos by ELLEN ENDO/Rafu Shimpo

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