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Planting the seed for a Buckner Family Hope Center® in San Antonio

Finding ways to serve and support the most vulnerable

Even though San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the U.S., reports show its families are struggling to make ends meet. Almost 20% of Bexar County residents live in households earning less than the federal poverty level. More than 50% of families are single-parent households, and the median income for women with full-time jobs is $23,350.

“We want to fill a gap, so we’re currently studying the areas of need in San Antonio,” shared Manny Alaniz, director of Buckner Family Hope Center® San Antonio. “One area we’re learning about is near an elementary school. Some 90% of families who go to the school are living below poverty level, 97% are Hispanic and 27% cannot speak English.”

Language barriers make it difficult for parents to advocate for their family’s and children’s needs, particularly at crucial care points, such as with doctors or teachers.

The added strain of financial hardship creates stress for the entire family. 

As challenges mount, the family unit can become less stable. Primary concerns for Bexar County families include access to mental health resources, rising divorce rates, gang activity, lack of child care, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, poverty and limited spiritual community for support or growth.

Shining hope in San Antonio

However, Family Hope Centers aim to strengthen families, so their children can stay where they belong – in a strong, loving home. The program provides community designed to engage, equip and elevate families. Offerings include family coaching, counseling, GED, ESL, computer literacy, job training, after-school programs and summer programs for children, among others.

Alaniz is focused on developing relationships and building bridges in San Antonio, meeting community leaders, pastors and other organizations that support a healthy, strong city.

Serving and reaching the community“I’m letting them know Buckner is here and what we do. We’ve gotten tremendous response to what Buckner does to impact families,” he said.

Alaniz is also helping determine where Buckner can best serve the community and is already participating in community events in the southwest area of San Antonio.

“When I meet people, they’re excited that we have a proven track record. I tell them, ‘We want you to know we’re here to partner with you and help you in any way we can,’” Alaniz shared. “Buckner is already starting to make an impact in San Antonio.”

A calling to serve

Based in San Antonio, Manny Alaniz joined Buckner in October 2023. 

It was a winding path to Buckner, Alaniz recounted with a smile. After more than 26 years with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Alaniz heeded a calling to build a stronger relationship with God and serve his people. He left law enforcement to earn a graduate degree, became ordained and served as both a pastor and a church planter. 

“Law enforcement and Buckner actually tie together for me,” Alaniz admitted. “I moved from saving the lives of the people of Texas to saving souls for the King of glory. Saving lives are important but the soul of a person is eternal.”

Learn more about how Buckner is shining hope in San Antonio.

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