Lakesha Porter is a mail clerk for the US Postal Service in Lafayette. Erica Davis is a special education instructor at a local elementary school. By day, Shavonn Williams is a production worker at Kirby Risk. By night, she is a nurse’s aide at Sycamore Springs Hospital.
So what do Lakesha, Erica and Shavonn each have in common? They each come to the Lafayette Urban Ministry for services and support for their families and children. Despite an unemployment rate of only 3.20% (essentially full employment), Lafayette’s poverty rate remains at a very stubborn 18.94%. For a family of three, that means a breadwinner working 40 hours per week is earning less than $10.25/hr. Comprised of mothers, fathers, children and grandparents, these households work hard, but still struggle to make ends meet.
For 47 years, the Lafayette Urban Ministry has been sharing help and giving hope to local families striving to build brighter futures for themselves. Poverty robs families and their children of so many of the opportunities they need to grow and succeed. The Lafayette Urban Ministry responds by providing those families with the practical help, educational resources and emotional support needed to overcome difficult times. Whether it is through after school learning or summer youth programs, direct financial assistance, free income tax preparation, immigration services, emergency shelter, addiction help or any combination of 20 additional services, LUM is a crucial asset for those in our community working to escape the grasp of poverty.
Last year, 4,723 households were served by the Lafayette Urban
Lakesha Porter doesn’t know what she would do without the support of LUM: LUM is a Godsend to us. The staff and volunteers always show respect and offer encouragement. Whenever I run out of food, or need a little extra cash to pay my rent, I can always count on LUM. The kids love going to LUM’s After School Program – and I love that LUM practices spelling words with them and helps with math. I don’t know how we would make it through the holidays if it weren’t for Jubilee Christmas. And LUM even helped when I lost my photo ID.
As a valued partner in all that goes on at LUM, your past support of the Lafayette Urban Ministry has made a world of difference. Together, we have strengthened families, nurtured children and made our community a better place for everyone. I hope you will continue your support of the Lafayette Urban Ministry by making a generous gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, or more, today.
I can think of nowhere else that your charitable contribution will have greater impact. I can think of no better way to practice our Lenten discipline than to share with those less fortunate. Scripture is so very clear. Jesus tells us we are to shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, love our neighbor, welcome the stranger and treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated. The Lafayette Urban Ministry takes that call seriously and provides each of us a place to put our faith into action. LUM affords us the opportunity to hear Jesus’s words anew – to understand our responsibility and to respond in kind.
I wish that Lakesha, Erica and Shavonn — along with everyone else who works hard and plays by the rules — were paid a wage high enough to provide the basics for their children. Working full-time and still not being able to escape poverty is unjust. But until that reality shifts, I am thankful that the Lafayette Urban Ministry is here to offer friendship and practical support to working families and their children.
Won’t you please give generously so that our efforts can continue? You may contribute online and find out more about all the things your gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry will accomplish, by visiting our website at www.lumserve.org/donate.