March is National Reading Month, and the LUM After School Program students celebrated with a grand birthday party for the beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss.
The “Dr. Seuss Spirit Week” celebration included reading groups with Dr. Seuss books and videos, fun educational exercises, Dr. Seuss themed snacks, arts and crafts activities, games and more. The LUM After School Program was bursting with excitement all focused on reading, writing and creativity.
Special thanks to the volunteers from the MARK Tutoring program at St. Thomas Aquinas, Purdue Pre-Pharmacy Club, Timmy Global Health at Purdue, and our other weekly volunteers for their help with the events.
Pictured above with a LUM student is Kristi Hogue, LUM After School Program director. To view more PHOTOS, click HERE.
In just over a month, the LUM Tax Assistance Program has had a tremendous positive impact on our community. Some interesting statistics so far are as follows:
Total Income Tax Returns Filed – 206
Total Earned Income Credit – $105,749
Average Adjusted Gross Income – $21,823
Total Refund Amount – $362,503
LUM would not be able to offer this service without the skilled, trained volunteers who make this important LUM program such a success each year. At LUM, taxpayers get one-on-one help from IRS-certified volunteers who prepare their taxes at no charge. The 2018 LUM Tax Assistance Program is led by Josh Prokopy (pictured above).
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.
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 theLafayette 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 atwww.lumserve.org/donate.
Hunger in the Hoosier Heartland. Charles Sargent, PhD, director, Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project; Joe Micon, executive director, Lafayette Urban Ministry; Frank Oliver – Lafayette Journal & Courier, David Calisch, Jerry Clark & R. Brent Smith, photographers (November 1993)
Increasing Church Involvement in Social Concerns: A Model for Urban Ministries. James D. Davidson, Sociology and Anthropology, Purdue University; Ron Elly, Pastoral Counselor, Lafayette Pastoral Counseling Center & LUM executive director; Thomas Hull, Department of Supervision, Purdue University & LUM Board of Directors president; and Don Nead, Campus Pastor, University Church, Purdue University (Summer, 1979)
Limestone Prophets: Gauging the Effectiveness of Religious Political Action Organizations That Lobby State Legislatures. Joe Micon, Indiana State Representative & Lafayette Urban Ministry executive director (Winter 2008)
Religious Stratification: Its Origins, Persistence, and Consequences. James D. Davidson, Purdue Sociology and Anthropology (December 2014)
The Lafayette Urban Ministry: A Model for Urban Ministries and an Evaluation of LUM (LUM Green Book). James D. Davidson, Sociology and Anthropology, Purdue University; Ron Elly, Pastoral Counselor, Lafayette Pastoral Counseling Center & LUM executive director; Thomas Hull, Department of Supervision, Purdue University & LUM Board of Directors president; and Don Nead, Campus Pastor, University Church, Purdue University (September 1976)
Currently there is an urgent need for Simple Green (concentrate, original scent) all purpose cleaner at LUM. The LUM Emergency Shelter and Youth Programs rely on gifts from the community and our LUM friends.
Please help by making a monetary donation to LUM or purchasing Simple Green for LUM. You may ship or drop them off to the LUM Office (420 N 4th Street, Lafayette, IN 47901), Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Cash donations are preferred because they allow LUM to purchase what is needed, when it’s needed, but donations of “needed items” are also appreciated. Items on the wish list are listed by “need” and also by program (Emergency Shelter, Youth Programs, Food Pantry, etc.). Thank you.
Members of our own community weigh in with their opinions
In a previous newsletter, we offered our readers a chance to voice their opinions on the issue of minimum wage and how it impacts them personally in our community. We appreciate all of our respondents taking the time to share their thoughts, and for giving us a cross section of where people stand on the matter locally. We discuss in this article some trends in responses when parsing the results.
A robust 95% of respondents believe that the current minimum age is not enough income to maintain a stable living. As discussed in previous articles, the math checks out in support of this result as well. The current minimum wage in Indiana has not kept up with inflation and increases in costs which have occurred since the last increase in 2009. This result appears to correlate with real-life experiences. 94% of respondents reported having worked a minimum wage job during their lifetimeand almost the same number of respondents (90%) of respondents supported raising the minimum wage in Indiana.
We also asked respondents how an increase of $1 to their hourly wage would make an impact for them. Some respondents conceded that this would make only a small difference, but many were adamant that that even a $1 increase would provide significant help in keeping up with bills, their ability to save, and reduce overall financial stress in their day-to-day lives. Those who did support an increase were asked what the state minimum wage should be, and most respondents favored increasing the minimum wage to a rate between $10.00-$11.00 an hour. This result falls reasonably in line with most of the legislation which has been proposed in this year’s General Assembly session.
A majority of responses also indicated that an increase would have a positive impact on the local economy, allowing more people to have more spending power which would support local businesses. While the majority of respondents favored a increase in the minimum wage, some respondents believed that an increase would have a detrimental impact by raising prices on various goods and services and therefore negatively affect employment rates. Recent studies indicate that this has not been the trend in locales where there has been significant increases in the minimum wage.
Overall, our survey results sheds light on strong support for an increase in the state minimum wage within the Lafayette community where Campaign for Hoosier Families is based. Legislation currently introduced in the General Assembly needs our continued support to move forward. Remember to visit iga.in.gov for contact information to reach out to committee chairs and legislators who have the power to move these bills forward and make sure they are aware of your support of this issue. Please also continue to submit your responses to our survey, the link to which can be found in this issue, and let us know where you stand. And, as always, keep an eye on the Campaign’s Legislation Tracker, included in each issue going forward, to stay up to date on the status of not only these bills but all legislation related to topics covered in our newsletter.
by Rob Krasa, LUM Intern
1 U.S. News, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2018-09-07/minimum-wage-increases-didnt-impact-jobs-in-6-us-cities-study-shows
2 The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Total Number of Jobs: Evidence from the United States Using a Bunching Estimator, https://www.sole-jole.org/17722.pdf
C4HFMinimum Wage Survey
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Increasing minimum wage has been an ongoing issue in the State of Indiana. The majority of Indiana residents have stated that they believe our minimum wage is not enough and needs to be increased. The Campaign for Hoosier Families is interested in your opinion regarding the status of minimum wage in Indiana. We seek this information to guide our efforts in regards to the upcoming Indiana General Assembly Session. The Campaign for Hoosier Families strives to best represent those for whom it advocates and would greatly appreciate your input. Please complete this survey by clicking here.
by Angela Weaver, Intern for the Campaign for Hoosier Families
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County (333 Meridian St., West Lafayette) will hold their annual Goodwill Clothing Drive on Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
Clean out your closets
Bring your clothes to the Unitarian Universalist Church
Support Local Families through LUM
UU Church will receive a $5 voucher from Goodwill for each bag of clothing donated. These vouchers will be passed along to LUM to assist our neediest families. Let your spring cleaning be a Win-Win and help local children & families.
Would you, or someone you know, make a good LUM Camp Counselor? LUM Camp is a week-long, over-night camp program for low-income children from 8 to 10 years old. Volunteer camp counselors must be 18 years old, enjoy working with children and be able to spend the entire week at camp. Counselors are needed from 11 a.m. Monday, July 29 to 4 p.m. Friday, August 2. Make this the year you make a difference in the lives of local children. Please share with others who may be interested.
Make your reservation today for the 8th annual LUM Good Samaritan Fund Follies. The event is a lighthearted evening of fine dining, entertainment, fun & good company — filled with delightful surprises. The best part is that 100% of the proceeds from this event go to the LUM Good Samaritan Fund, an emergency financial assistance program that supports local families.
LUM Follies’ Details and Schedule are as follows:
Friday, May 3
St. Andrew United Methodist Church, 4703 N 50 W, West Lafayette, Indiana