In September of 2011 the vision of Cross Church was to continue to serve the needs of the Northwest Arkansas region and to expand its footprint. This vision resulted in the introduction of the Compassion Center to the public. Located at 2407 S. Thompson in Springdale and under the direction of Ken Milbrodt the Compassion Center opened its doors and presented to the community a thrift store that offered gently used merchandise at an extremely low price point to everyone in the region. To continue the Cross Church legacy of giving back to Northwest Arkansas the center also opened simultaneously Cross Compassion Ministries, which served those less fortunate in our communities with rent, utilities, food, fuel, and clothing. Life skill training, ESL classes, and other ministry related opportunities were also available as the Compassion Center and its leadership looked for new ways to reach people in the area.
On January 1st, 2014 the Compassion Center transitioned leadership and a new chapter began in its progress to better serve the residents of Northwest Arkansas. With its first Executive Director the organization narrowed its focus and pursued an independent designation as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. While pursuing this designation the Compassion Center was renamed Compassion NWA (CNWA) and simultaneously Cross Compassion Ministry was also renamed Compassion Community Services to better reflect the regional footprint of outreach the organization desires. In May of 2016 the IRS formally recognized Compassion Center of Northwest Arkansas as a 501(c)(3) organization and that designation opened the door for possible donations from businesses, retailers, organizations, foundations, and vendors. The designation has also unlocked the opportunity to recieve grants from generous local partners such as the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and Arvest Bank as a part of their campaign for "1 Million Meals." CNWA continues to seek out new local and national partners through grant writing to help establish a firmer financial foundation for the future.
In August of 2015 Compassion Community Services prepared a bold step in its hunger initiative by transitioning to a full service "Choice" pantry. This shift in philosophy has reduced waste, improved service capacity, and provided each client we serve a dignified experience where the choice of product can now reflect their personal choices based on physical, medical, or personal preference. In March of 2017 the entire pantry was remodeled and relocated to one room as we expanded to offer fresh produce, fruit, and dairy items to better assist a growing cliental which has seen a 269% increase since the transition.
In April of 2017 a new board of directors was established for the continued support and advancement of the Compassion Center of Northwest Arkansas. As an organization CNWA has a bright future as it expands to serve an ever changing and growing population in need throughout the region. Platforms such as "Feed the 479", "Free-2-Be", and the continuation and improvement of the current needs based services will allow more people in our communities to recieve the care, mercy, and hope so desperatly needed in our world. CNWA also looks to the future where there will be multiple sites to serve and reach its full potential as a non-profit organization committed to creating locally sourced opportunities to give, serve, and engage a community in need while building a sustainable grace driven organization that offers hope to the hurting.