Episode 148: Skid Row Streets to Volunteer Manager: How Andrew Linares Turned his Life Around and is Helping Others Do the Same

The Midnight Mission is the oldest continuously operating human service organization in the Los Angeles region. Centered in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles, The Midnight runs one of the most efficient direct service operations in the country. With only five executive managers throughout its 100-year history, The Midnight has been a consistent beacon of light for those with nowhere else to turn.

This past summer I went with my church youth group to the Midnight Mission where we provided sack lunches for the people in the Midnight Mission program, and that day I met Andrew Linares, who has worked as the volunteer manager at the Midnight Mission since April of 2018. Andrew went through the program from 2015-2017 after living on the streets of Skid Row himself, struggling with a drug and alcohol addiction. Today I get to interview Andrew about his journey to finding recovery and the start of a new life at The Midnight Mission and how that turned into his life's work. Andrew shares with me all of the inspiring programs and work going on at the Midnight Mission where they help thousands of people get off the streets of LA, find food and shelter and water, learn to work and save money and eventually move on to find work and homes for themselves. I couldn't help but think over and over of when Jesus taught us that when we feed the hungry and clothe the naked, it's just as if we were doing it for the Savior himself. I was so inspired by Andrew's story and his perspective and the work he's doing at the Midnight Mission and I can't wait to share the gift he gave to me by sharing this with you too.


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Time Stamps:

[01:35] – Andrew Linares says that joining the work at Midnight Mission was luck.

[04:14] – Andrew talks about the drug and alcohol relationship that landed him in the program at Midnight Mission before working there.

[05:52] – What simple call changed Andrew’s life? He talks about being shunned by family and friends.

[07:53] – What realization did Andrew have after a relapse?

[09:43] – Andrew discusses the work program, education program, and interpersonal communication at Midnight Mission.

[11:48] – How did Midnight Mission shift Andrew’s perspective of religion?

[14:37] – Programs here are meant to empower participants to design a life.

[16:56] – Andrew provides insight about what it’s like for people who are living on the streets. He speaks from his experience.

[18:54] – Not everyone that lives on the streets starts off as addicts, but they can pick up the tendencies to deal with hardships.

[20:58] – Andrew emphasizes the importance of addressing people as the individuals that they are.

[23:34] – What is Andrew’s suggestion on giving to the homeless? Should you give people money?

[26:20] – Andrew encourages people to donate time through volunteer work if they think they have nothing to give.

[29:05] – Andrew talks about three very specific programs that create a special atmosphere at Midnight Mission.

[30:53] – Why is 1-on-1 conversation impactful for those in need?

[34:11] – How did the Midnight Mission start? Andrew gives the background of the initiative.

[36:20] – When did the Midnight Mission incorporate the 12-step philosophy? Andrew gives the background of Midnight Mission.

[37:46] – Eventually, Midnight Mission grew a focus towards family and financial independence.

[40:25] – Midnight Mission wants their participants to focus on building themselves up.

[41:55] – Here is the lesson Andrew hopes people take away from this episode.


Supporting Resources:

Website: www.midnightmission.org

Opportunities to support and serve at the Midnight Mission



POC: Andrew Linares – Volunteer Manager

Email: alinares@midnightmission.org

Phone: 213.624.9258 ext. 1249







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