Last Chance Ministries - Hope for San Antonio's Westside
In 2006, Jimmy Robles founded Last Chance Ministries (LCM). His dynamic, energetic and upbeat ministry is truly making a difference to San Antonio’s Westside community.
Jimmy was compelled to make a difference in his community and set up an outreach ministry with a table and a couple of chairs and a sign that said, "Do You Need a Hug or Prayer.” Surrounded by prostitutes, gangs, addicts and the homeless, he served coffee with something to eat. Every Saturday he continued to setup the outreach ministry in the vacant lot and minister to all who would come.
Today that table and chairs has been transformed into a growing organization complete with a building which was paid for by donations from those who have been inspired by the good work that Jimmy Robles is doing on the Westside of San Antonio. In just a few short years, Jimmy’s ministry has blossomed to include annual events that really benefit the people in his community. They include a Resurrection Drama, a Back to School event, a Thanksgiving event and a Christmas event. While these may sound like your typical church ministries, they are far from it.
The Resurrection Drama details Jesus’ final days on earth and is held on the Saturday before Easter and takes place over several locations where different acts are performed. Usually 200-300 people follow the play to the end where they get to experience what it means to have a life with Jesus. At the end they are encouraged to worship and get involved at LCM.
The Back to School Event is supported by organizations all around the city. The city of San Antonio donates the stage, several hair dressers from different beauty colleges provide haircuts, medical organizations provide free vacations, flu shots, screening for diabetes, thyroid and other blood tests and Cool Smiles provides dental services. The event even has live music thanks to a partnership with Valero who provide all of the food and volunteers to serve. Many other San Antonio organizations participate as well as local retail businesses. What a fantastic event for San Antonio’s Westside!
The Thanksgiving Event started out serving a small group of about 75 but has grown over the past five years to serving more than 3,000! Bands come from San Antonio, Lytle, Austin, and Houston to play at the event. They really get the community involved and not by just giving them a plate, dozens of volunteers in the surrounding community cook the food. It is amazing how much support the community provides and it's a BIG win for San Antonio.
The Christmas Event provides toys to the kids in the community. District 1 and 5 provide the stage,Children's Hunger Fund provides an incredible number of toys and Last Chance Ministries provides the meal. What a great way to give back to the community! The 2011 Christmas event saw donations of food and toys from the U.S. Air Force. The toys were wrapped by LCM volunteers and Santa Claus handed out the Christmas presents to Westside children.
You would think that the annual ministries would be enough, but not for Jimmy Robles. Last Chance Ministries offers a Women’s Ministry open to all the women in the Westside community, especially the women and single mothers living in Alazan-Apache and Mirasol housing. Also, Last Chance offers a Children’s Ministry to children from the projects many of whom come from broken or unsteady homes where drugs, alcohol, and abuse are prevalent. The Food Ministry distributes food every Thursday and supplement food to about 250 children and 350 single mothers and the elderly. Many people even come by bus and carry strollers to use as grocery containers.
In 2009, Jimmy started a youth baseball league called Christian Sports Organization (CSO) and had over 100 Westside children signup. In the first season, after only three months, a team from the league won the championship in Dallas. The impact on the children was tremendous and because of their success, a donation of $14,000 was made towards upgrades to the field and to support the league. They have new grass, lights, scoreboard, a concession stand, picnic tables, and barbeque pits. Thanks to other donations they have been able to purchase uniforms and new equipment too!
Last Chance Ministries is making a difference on San Antonio’s Westside. Thanks to the support of San Antonio businesses, churches and city organizations, they are building a good life for the inner-city community.
If you would like to get more information about Last Chance Ministries or would like to volunteer to help with any of their programs, please visit them on the web at www.last-chance-ministries.org, stop by 1311 N. Zarzamora or give them a call at (210) 736-0900. You’ll be glad you did!