Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate sociology student at Purdue, I volunteered at the Lafayette Urban Ministry. My job here was to help provide emergency financial assistance to individuals in our community who were facing eviction from their apartment or perhaps the disconnect of an electric or gas utility.
One day, a man came in for assistance. He and his wife had two young boys and the family’s rent was seriously in arrears. He looked familiar, but I wasn’t quite able to place him. As our conversation progressed, he shared that he worked at Purdue and cleaned the restrooms in Stone Hall.
That’s when I made the connection.
Here was the man who cleaned the same public restroom at Stone Hall that I used on a regular basis. I was chagrined at not knowing his name or anything about his family. While I was happy that LUM was able to help him that day, I will never forget the lesson I learned about how connected we are to one another – no matter what our station.
From that day forward I worked harder to notice and to respect those who live and work on the margins of our community. Even though it has been 38 years, I still remember that that custodian’s name was Dean.
I am writing today to ask for your support of the Lafayette Urban Ministry Good Samaritan Fund – the most important way our community takes care of, and respects, neighbors in need.
Each day LUM is approached by local families who work hard, sometimes at multiple jobs, but because of low pay, a reduction in hours, an injury, an unexpected major expense, or just an increase in the cost of living, are not able to make ends meet.
Some who come are in need of food. Some require medicine. Some need clothing or work boots to start a new job. Some, as did my friend Dean, need help to keep a roof over their family’s heads. Last year, the Good Samaritan Fund expended almost $129,000 to resolve more than 2,200 financial emergencies.
The Good Samaritan Fund is made possible by those in our community, like you, who have learned that we are all connected; that no matter our status or position, we all deserve kindness and respect when facing difficult 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, faithfully and respectfully serving those with critical financial needs.
And remember, not a single dollar of what you contribute to the LUM Good Samaritan Fund will be spent for administrative overhead. Everything you give goes directly to feed someone who is hungry, to shelter a family in need of housing, or to keep the furnace running for a senior during a cold Indiana winter.
Your generosity will enable the Good Samaritan Fund to be here for our neighbors in need. By contributing now, you will assure that this important work will continue into the weeks and months ahead.
Many years ago I learned an important lesson about how connected we all are — and that we each have a name:
- The woman who changes bed sheets in our hospital;
- The man who hauls our trash;
- The neighbor with a disability whose meager benefit check never stretches the entire month;
- The single mom who takes our order at the fast food drive up window;
- My friend Dean.
I pray now that you will help to lift up each individual, each parent, who struggles to make ends meet while working in the shadows of our community; that you will help them to build brighter futures for themselves and for their children; that you will make a generous contribution to the LUM Good Samaritan Fund.