Category Archives: Mission Moment

Mission Moment – Meet Angela & Dante

A Letter from Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director

November 2018

Dear Friend,

Angela Williams moved to our community for the same reasons so many others have in recent years…

  • Plentiful jobs
  • Good schools
  • Affordable housing
  • Safe streets

She felt that this would be the best community in which to raise her three children: Freya, Dajon, and Dante.  She hoped that Lafayette would be the place to make a home and build their new life together.

Then, little 3 year old Dante lost his appetite, started losing weight and became sluggish and fatigued.  The doctor diagnosed him with lead poisoning.  An assessment of their new apartment found lead paint virtually everywhere.

For the sake of the family’s health and well being, they were told they had to move from their new home – and quickly.

Even though Angela works full-time doing cleaning for a local staffing agency, her hourly earnings weren’t enough to cover a second move in the period of less than a year.  Unless she could pay off her current electric bill, in full, the family would be stuck in a contaminated apartment.

That’s where the Lafayette Urban Ministry came in.

Angela asked if it might be possible for LUM to pay her electric bill so the family could move to safer quarters.  She was overwhelmed with relief when she left our office with a Good Samaritan Fund check for $150 – enough to cover the entire amount of the bill.

In a matter of days, the family was moved into a new, safe, duplex and little Dante has been eating better and gaining weight ever since.  Thank goodness.

Last year, LUM’s Good Samaritan Fund expended $117,058 to resolve more than 2,030 financial emergencies.  Helping to keep families together in their homes was our first priority and much of our assistance was spent for rent and utility aid.  But we also helped with food, prescription medications and transportation.

The Lafayette Urban Ministry Good Samaritan Fund is made possible by those in our community who know how important it is for there to be a strong and reliable social safety net for our neighbors who fall upon hard times.  I hope you will consider making a generous financial gift today so that this important work can continue.

Your contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500 or $1,000 will allow the Good Samaritan Fund to be here for all the families, many with children, who call upon us for help.

And remember, not a single penny of what you contribute will ever be spent for administrative overhead.  Every gift to the Good Samaritan Fund is used directly for food, shelter, health care or transportation assistance.

Angela Williams favorite past time, actually her passion, is cooking.  She believes it is the most personal and intimate gift you can give to another.  Cooking and eating she says is an essential common bond that connects people of all races, nationalities and backgrounds.

So perhaps it should have been no surprise when Angela showed up at the LUM office with a fully cooked meal of chicken casserole, greens and biscuits to share with LUM’s staff and volunteers!

She said she just wanted to thank us for all we had done for her family.

As we were enjoying her gift of food and the warm conversation that surrounded our impromptu meal in the LUM break area, I couldn’t help but realize that Angela was really thanking you.  She was thanking you for the kindness shown to her family in their time of need.  And she was thanking you for your support of LUM’s Good Samaritan Fund.

I pray that you will continue that support.  Please, won’t you join me in sending a generous gift today?

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Good Samaritan Fund

Mission Moment – The Story of Patrick Renfroe

A Letter from Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director

Fifty-eight year old Patrick Renfroe drank his first beer when he was just 12. At age 13 he was drinking hard liquor and smoking pot. By age 18 Patrick was buying and using crack cocaine.

He grew up in a home that was haunted by addiction. Both his father and sister lost their lives to drug and alcohol abuse. Patrick spent a total of 15 years in various Indiana prisons and the Tippecanoe County Community Corrections Program – all because of drug-related convictions.

Over the years, Patrick’s addiction took everything that was dear and important to him – his family, friends, employment, his freedom and even his physical health. In 2016, he suffered two strokes, one on each side of his brain, within the period of a single week.

It was during his rehab to regain his balance that Patrick realized he was powerless over his addiction. Unless he confronted his 45 year history of substance abuse soon, he knew his days would be numbered. Patrick shares,

“I was just so sick and tired of always being sick and tired.”

In May of this year, Patrick moved out of his apartment to escape the unhealthy influence of his roommates, and he started spending his nights at the LUM Emergency Shelter. Here he found a place that was not only bright, clean and friendly, but also a place that was supportive in his journey to sobriety.

At LUM, Patrick was exposed to various substance abuse helps, including…

  • Weekly AA meetings
  • Bi-weekly programs where resources are shared and testimony is provided by others who are fighting addiction
  • Immediate transportation for those who desire in-patient addiction treatment
  • A professional staff that understands addiction and speaks openly and honestly with guests about their illness

In addition, Patrick took frequent advantage of addiction groups and programs offered by various downtown Lafayette churches, all within short walking distance of the LUM shelter.

In the past year, 704 individuals came to the LUM Emergency Shelter. Each stayed an average of 12 nights – 8,448 overnight stays. In addition, LUM provided an overnight warming station, ensuring that nobody was stranded overnight on the streets of our community without a place to be safe and warm during the harsh winter months. An additional 584 overnight stays took place at the LUM Winter Warming Station.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the varied and complex problems facing our chronically homeless guests. Addiction, mental illness, poor life choices and emotional and physical disabilities are never easy to overcome. But with skill, perseverance and dedication, LUM staff members are often successful in helping our guests move off the streets into more self-sufficient living environments.

Please, won’t you support this important work with your dollars?

Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 will help the LUM Emergency Shelter provide addiction services and provide our homeless guests with the support they need to leave our shelter for a home of their own.

With money that Patrick was able to save from a brand new job at a local restaurant – and with a dollar-for-dollar match provided him by LUM – he was recently able to move out of the LUM Emergency Shelter and into a home of his own.

Patrick continues to attend daily NA or AA meetings and is proud that he has now been drug and alcohol free for seven months. He finds comfort and joy from being more active in his church and is grateful for everyone in his life who is helping him on his road to recovery.

In other words, Patrick Renfroe is grateful for YOU!

I hope you are as excited as I am about the positive changes that, together, we are making possible in the lives of those we serve. Lafayette Urban Ministry is providing more than just a well-run, safe and secure shelter for homeless individuals. We are providing the support, encouragement and tools our homeless guests need in their struggle with addiction. We are helping them to live more independent, self-sufficient lives. Please, won’t you join me today in making a generous financial gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry Emergency Shelter?

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Emergency Shelter

LUM Announces New Promotional Video

LUM Video 2018 – Now Available to Online

Lafayette Urban Ministry is excited to announce a new promotional video. The LUM Video is stunning and will be used by LUM board members and staff to recruit new volunteers; engage new churches, civic & school groups; and ask individuals and businesses to invest in LUM by making a donation. LUM worked with Gary Higgins of Indiana Motion Pictures to produce the video.

The LUM Video features narration from Kristin Malavenda, Purdue communications director & former NPR host, and heart-felt stories of how LUM “Gives Help & Gives Hope” each and every day of the year from the following:

  • Jaqueline Albarenga-Flores, LUM volunteer
  • Fr. Patrick Baikauskas OP, Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Center, LUM member church
  • Tiffany Hicks & her children, Chastity & Cincere (pictured below), LUM clients
  • Martin & Patty Jischke, former Purdue president & first lady
  • Joe Micon, LUM executive director
  • Patti O’Callaghan, LUM volunteer & former staff member
  • Deb Parent, LUM board member & volunteer (pictured above)
  • Arwin & Judy Provonsha, LUM volunteers
  • Andrea Schmidt, LUM volunteer

This short LUM promotional video is now available on the LUM YouTube Channel.

YOU may NOW use the new LUM video to entice your members, family, friends & colleagues to engage and invest in Lafayette Urban Ministry. LUM relies on donations and volunteers to continue to offer support to the families and children in our community; so, please share the new LUM video soon & often.

You are now invited to take a look at the new LUM Video by clicking the image below.

New LUM Video – Giving Help, Giving Hope

New LUM Video to Debut in June 2018

Lafayette Urban Ministry is excited to announce that a new LUM video is currently being produced and will debut in June.

This video will be used by LUM board members and staff to recruit new volunteers, engage new churches, civic & school groups, and ask individuals and businesses to invest in LUM by making a donation. This video will eventually be made available to the public through the LUM website, and anyone, including member churches, may use the video to entice their members to engage and invest in LUM as well. The video features Joe Micon, LUM executive director, and several LUM volunteers who tell heart-felt stories about how LUM “Gives Help & Gives Hope” each and every day of the year.

Stay tuned for more information about the exciting, official LUM Video debut!

Stories from the LUM Good Samaritan Program

How Attending LUM Follies Helps Local Families

Last year the LUM Good Samaritan Program served families 2,032 times and distributed $115,314 to avert evictions, utility disconnects and other financial crises.
Here are three examples of how your support of LUM Follies helps local families.

Make Your Follies Reservation Online at

Gregory had to move closer to his aunt, who had taken ill. He was suddenly homeless and unemployed. While he stayed in the LUM Emergency Shelter, Gregory looked for and found a new job in a local restaurant and soon after signed a lease for a new apartment. During this transition he needed “non-skid” shoes for his new job and some assistance with his security deposit for his new apartment. Gregory shared that he appreciates the support from the LUM Good Samaritan Program which gave him the stability and freedom to be close to and be there for his family — especially his aunt.

Freddie has nine children and 16 grandchildren. She lives with two of her grandchildren (her son’s two children). When Freddie agreed to help her son with his children she was working full-time and healthy. Unfortunately, Freddie fell and broke her leg, and after surgery and physical therapy still was not able to keep working. The LUM Good Samaritan Program was able to help Freddie with rent and food assistance. She shared that “LUM saved me and my grandchildren from being hungry and losing our home.”

Trisha & James are a happily married, hard working couple with three teenage children. When Trisha had to quit her job because of debilitating back pain, their family was in financial crisis. LUM Good Samaritan Program helped with the paperwork to receive food assistance and Medicaid and helped pay two months of electric bills to prevent their service from being disconnected. Trisha shared, “It was emotionally and physically difficult to go to LUM, but once inside everyone was so helpful and nonjudgmental that we left feeling positive about our financial situation and had hope for the first time in weeks.”

Make Your Follies Reservation Online at

A Prayer for Lafayette Urban Ministry

A Special Prayer for LUM’s 45th Anniversary

Two members of the LUM Dream Team have recently written A Prayer for LUM.

In celebration of the 45th anniversary of Lafayette Urban Ministry, Dr. Jim Davidson & Rev. Don Nead collaborated to write this prayer as a way of creating a meaningful reflection for the friends, volunteers, staff and supporters of LUM.

The prayer not only focuses on the Mission of LUM but also reconnects LUM with its long history of social justice including advocacy for public policy that supports and strengthens families.

We are grateful to Dr. Davidson & Rev. Nead for their wisdom and inspiration.
Please take the time to read the entire piece, A Prayer for LUM.

Read “A Prayer for LUM”

A Prayer for LUM

God abhors poverty, calls us to address its causes and consequences, and created the Lafayette Urban Ministry to help us pursue this goal. Therefore, I join my brothers and sisters in this prayer for LUM.

We pray for the wisdom and courage of Old Testament prophets such as Amos, Micah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah; the Son of God, Jesus Christ; and more recent role models such as Mandela, King, Gandhi, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

We pray that LUM’s efforts also reflect the social teachings of its member  churches, the leadership of its directors, and the faith of its benefactors,  board members, staff and volunteers.

We pray that LUM’s initiatives will be inspired by biblical concepts such as alms  giving, tithing, gleaning, jubilee, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, turning one’s cheek, and turning over the tables in the temple.

We pray that LUM’s programs will address both symptoms and root causes, include both assistance and advocacy, involve both service and justice, and be both comforting and challenging.

We pray that LUM will speak the truth to power and will always give priority to  people over things, the needy over the self-sufficient, and the voiceless over the noisy.

We pray for each other: that we will aspire to do Your will, acknowledge our  limitations and failures, and ask for the grace to be Your faithful disciples.

Dr. James Davidson and Rev. Donald Nead
May 2017


Two members of the LUM Dream Team have recently written A Prayer for LUM.

In celebration of the 45th anniversary of Lafayette Urban Ministry, Dr. Jim Davidson & Rev. Don Nead wanted to create something meaningful reflection for the friends, volunteers, staff and supporters of LUM and decided on this prayer.

The prayer not only focuses on the Mission of LUM but also reconnects LUM with its long history of social justice including advocacy for public policy that supports and strengthens families.

We are grateful to Dr. Davidson & Rev. Nead for their wisdom and inspiration. Please take the time to read the entire piece, A Prayer for LUM.

Meet Freddie — Good Samaritan Fund Client

Meet Freddie Smith, a recent LUM client.

Freddie has nine children and 16 grandchildren who live in Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. She lives in West Lafayette with two of her grandchildren (ages: 3 years and 6 months old). When Freddie agreed to help her son with his children she was working fulltime and managing her diabetes well. Unfortunately, after a series of unfortunate events she was in a financial crisis. Last winter, Freddie fell and broke her leg. After surgery and physical therapy her leg did not fully heal and her diabetes has been harder to manage. Since her job required her to be on her feet for most of the work day, she was not able to keep working.

Freddie’s income had been reduced substantially in a short period of time — and she still was caring for her two grandchildren. She shared that “LUM saved me and my
grandchildren from being hungry and losing our home.” Not only did Freddie get emergency financial assistance from the LUM Good Samaritan Program but she also received referrals to the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry and Jubilee Christmas. She shared that the director of the LUM Good Samaritan Program, Rev. Clarinda Crawford, has been a blessing to her and her family — and she is thankful that such a wonderful and important program exists in her community. Freddie is optimistic that 2017 will be a better year for her family. Freddie’s story is a perfect example of how quickly a family’s situation can change and how suddenly they are temporarily in need of our help.

Attending the LUM Good Samaritan Fund Follies on May 5
will directly support families like Freddie’s.

Please attend LUM Good Samaritan Fund Follies & support the LUM Good Samaritan Fund. If you are unable to attend and wish to make a donation directly to the LUM Good Samaritan Fund, click HERE.

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Good Samaritan Fund

Spotlight on the LUM ID Clinic

One of the most critical yet lesser known services offered by Lafayette Urban Ministry is the ID Clinic. The LUM ID Clinic is open Monday through Wednesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and is a service to all residents of Tippecanoe County.

The ID Clinic offers individuals assistance with the process of getting a valid ID Card (Indiana Identification Card) and Birth Certificate.

The process of gathering all of the documentation needed to obtain a basic, legal ID is often tricky, expensive and requires a birth certificate — the procedure and cost of which to obtain  differs from state to state.

Today an ID is necessary for many basic functions including accepting a new job, obtaining housing, opening a bank account, voting, traveling, attending school, and getting a driver’s license. In 2016, the LUM ID Clinic helped close to 200 individuals in “cutting the red tape” associated with re-establishing their legal identities. The LUM ID Clinic is directed by the Rev. Clarinda Crawford (pictured above). Chris S., a recent client of the ID Clinic shared, “I have not had an Indiana ID since moving here in February of 2016 — and now that I finally have one — I am able to get my own housing.” Chris S. has also been a guest in the LUM Emergency Shelter. These are the type of life changing stories that are told by those served by the LUM ID Clinic.

If you would like more information on the LUM ID Clinic, click HERE. If you wish to support the ID Clinic with a donation, click HERE — and attend the LUM Good Samaritan Fund Follies on Friday, May 5 — click HERE for more details.

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ID Clinic

Free Haircuts — And So Much More

2016-02-18 Haircuts - Mariana Paddock 024 (2) (1280x1279)

Once a month Mariana Paddock volunteers by offering free haircuts in the LUM Office for our homeless clients.

She is a talented hair stylist in Lafayette with an established clientele.

At LUM though Mariana offers much more than just a haircut. Her interactions are special. She gives each person her undivided attention — offering them conversation and good cheer. Mariana also gives them love, hope and respect.

As she masterfully trims each person’s hair, you can literally see dignity restored and confidence built in each of her “customers.”

Thank you, Mariana for such a wonderful gift you are giving the homeless clients at Lafayette Urban Ministry and to the entire community.