Meet Jess – New LUM Thanksgiving Director
Jess Avila – LUM Community Thanksgiving Feast
Jess Avila is the new director for the LUM Community Thanksgiving Feast. She is responsible for all aspects of the annual celebration where more than 800 free meals will be distributed on Thanksgiving (11/26) at Central Presbyterian Church, Lafayette.
Jess is originally from Liberty, New York, and moved to West Lafayette with her family. She graduated from Harrison High School, served in the US Army Reserves for four years, earned an associates degree from Ivy Tech Community College in Child Development, and a BA in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Pre-Law from Purdue University. She still lives in West Lafayette and is engaged to be married to Phil in 2021. They have 15 nieces and nephews and three cats (Tucker, Bentley & Panther). Jess is a personal trainer, youth exercise specialist & nutrition coach with a local fitness center; and head girls basketball and track & field coach at Klondike Middle School. With LUM, Jess & Phil have volunteered for more than six years including the Community Thanksgiving Feast (pictured).
Jess shares that,
“I am most happy when I am helping others
— both people and animals.”
She finds inspiration in “young people who give us this bright light and hope for a better future.” She has great empathy for families struggling with poverty and food insecurity. Jess shared that,
“My mom did her best but needed help and sometimes we were left feeling worthless, hopeless, sad, scared and confused because we needed that help.”
Jess admires LUM, sharing that,
“I see all of the LUM staff members working to serve while ‘restoring dignity,’ as stated in the mission statement.“
Jess enjoys nature (kayaking, hiking, running, biking, and feeding wild animals), cooking, reading, watching movies, comedy, activism and social justice, being a Purdue & New York Jets fan, watching and playing sports, hanging out at home with Phil, and ranch dressing.
LUM is fortunate to have Jess Avila join the LUM staff.