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Tears of a Dodger Clown: Meet ‘Hiccups,’ East L.A.’s Super Fan Feeding the Homeless For Almost a Decade

1:35 PM PDT on August 10, 2022

Frankie Mercado, from old-school Silver Lake, goes by the alter ego of "Hiccups The Clown." He is a self-proclaimed Dodgers' super fan who is a nurse by day and whose blue-and-white jersey, cap, shorts, and oversized shoes have evolved from amusing at kids' parties and being a presence in the seats at Dodger Stadium to being a helpful hand in his community for a decade. He is a resident of East Los Angeles.

Mercado launched the “Hiccups Pizza Project” after announcing on Facebook that he would go to Skid Row to feed 300 unhoused people. The Hiccups Pizza Project provides unhoused people in Los Angeles' Skid Row district food and supplies. Mercado gathers his volunteers mainly via Facebook and pulls them together once a month to distribute pizza, bottled water, muffins, clothes, and other goods to the unhoused in the neighborhood.

During the monthly Sunday meal services, many unhoused people express their thanks for the meal. The volunteers come from all stages of life, from fifth graders to first-year college students to grandparents and soon-to-be newlyweds. At these events, working-people volunteer their time to the less fortunate and assist everyone who lines up without passing judgment. 

“I have been in these streets for so long that true kindness is rare to find,” said Pepper, a houseless Skid Row resident, “Hiccups has helped me stay sober all this time.” 

Stay humble. Focus on your goodness. Allow your goodness to proceed. Share your passion for compassion.” - Hiccups

The COVID-19 pandemic halted the advancement of numerous civic initiatives made over the years to offer these resources. Reducing resources and accessibility to city programs to provide hygiene products and meals is still a big problem. 

Another project that Mercado is involved in is the non-profit “PADRES Contra El Cancer/Parents Against Cancer.” Mercado is a program advocate who assists children with cancer and their families, particularly in the Latino community.

When asked why he does it, Mercado answered, "I help those living on hope and those that lost hope."

Whether you know him as  Hiccups the clown or Frankie Mercado, you know that he goes down hard for his city. As a collective, he has given thousands of meals and touched even more hearts of children battling childhood cancer.

Whenever you see Mercado post on socials about any event, his tagline is: “Stay humble. Focus on your goodness. Allow your goodness to proceed. Share your passion for compassion.” 

Support Hiccups the clown by donating or volunteering the last Sunday of every month  at 6th and Gladys in downtown Los Angeles. 

Or follow him @hiccups_skid_row_la on Instagram.

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