Category Archives: Lafayette Urban Ministry

LUM Tax Assistance – Strengthens Families

Celebrating Another Successful Tax Year – Despite COVID-19

“It is clear that despite COVID-19 our program has been a success,” stated Josh Prokopy, the LUM Tax Assistance director. Each year, LUM offers FREE Income Tax Preparation Assistance for eligible, low-income households and individuals who reside in Tippecanoe County. LUM is proud of the Tax Assistance team for making it possible to continue offering this service during the pandemic.

Some interesting statistics about this year’s LUM Tax Assistance Program are as follows:

  • $373,176 – Total Refunds
  • $338,856 – Total Federal Refunds
  • $34,320 – Total State Refunds
  • 242 – Income Tax Returns filed
  • $68,016 – Total in Federal – Earned Income Credit
  • $5,048 – Total in State – Earned Income Credit
  • $73,064 – Total in Earned Income Credit
  • $21,176 – Average Adjusted Gross Income

Why is the LUM Tax Assistance Program so important?

  • Lower wage workers wouldn’t be able to afford having their tax returns prepared professionally
  • Federal & state support for working families is often offered through tax code
  • If workers don’t file, significant tax credits will be left unclaimed
  • Refunds boost our local economy by increasing sales and creating jobs in retail

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Tax Assistance Program

The Story of Doris Miner Hanstra

A Story of the Beginning of LUM in 1957


On a fall afternoon, Doris Miner Hanstra looked out of her window and saw three girls sitting on the curb trying to light cigarette butts. She invited them into her home that day and several days after. Soon Doris was hosting scores of children in the basement of her church regularly.


This legendary story has been told and retold by each LUM executive director through the years to demonstrate how one person can have an impact that lasts for generations. If you want to learn more about the individuals who had a part in what eventually became this phenomenon known today as Lafayette Urban Ministry, Doris Miner Hanstra (1910-2003) must be at the top of the list.

Her husband, the Rev. Peter Hanstra became the pastor of Hope Chapel Presbyterian Church in 1957. Hope Chapel was founded in 1844 as a Presbyterian “mission” to the relatively low-income people living on the southside of downtown Lafayette. Doris noticed immediately that there was a need to support the families and children in their new church neighborhood in downtown Lafayette. Doris and her team of volunteers planned a series of programs & events which included arts & crafts projects in the afternoons and movie nights with popcorn. These programs were successful, had a positive impact, and grew quickly, drawing the attention of Purdue University and other churches. She accomplished all of this while supporting her husband as pastor, playing organ at services, and raising her five children, one of whom was adopted.

Partnering with a student from Purdue, Doris and a small group of volunteers from a variety of churches started the Neighborhood Development Project in 1962. Doris inspired a movement that led to the formation of the NDP advisory board in 1966 by Hope Chapel. The board approved a budget of $5,000 for three programs: afternoon “craft programs” for children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade, evening craft programs for 4th through 6th grade children, and a summer camp.

The programs including singing, birthday acknowledgements and guest speakers like local police & fire departments talking about safety tips. Their handicrafts included a service component. The children would make “useful” crafts for “someone at home or for the sick.” One of their projects was to beautify the neighborhood by planting flowers along the church building. They created crafts for every holiday including Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. They planned study & recreation trip for the children too — including picnics, children’s plays, trips to Happy Hallow Park, events at Purdue, service projects, a Christmas pageant & caroling, a puppet show and a trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.

The Hanstras retired in 1966 but not before presenting a plan to hire a new pastor who would continue to be active with the Neighborhood Development Project. The search resulted in the hiring of the Rev. Ron Elly. The Rev. Elly built on this simple idea, and Lafayette Urban Ministry was incorporated in 1972.


Doris Miner (1910 – 2003) was born in Cass County, Indiana, and attended Lucerne Schools. She married Peter Hanstra in 1933.

Their children are Miner Hanstra of Lafayette, Marta Flaherty of Peoria, Jeanne Van Horn of Lafayette, Gretchen Paprocki of Lafayette & Rachel Bahrenburg of Bismark, ND.

Doris played the piano & organ and was music director in several Indiana & Illinois churches. She painted porcelain and sold pieces through her business, The Nook & Granny. In 1983, she won 1st prize in a state competition. 

Nina’s Reflections On COVID-19 from the Frontlines


Food Pantries

“During the COVID19, the volunteers at the Protein Food Pantry set a goal of continuing to serve our clients with respect for the safety of all and maintaining personal interactions. They have worked hard to follow all of the precautions & protocol. I am proud to say that we have remained open each week and work to help relieve and reduce the stress our clients are experiencing by allowing them to have choices in the food selections when possible. The need is great, and our clients appreciate us staying open.”

Nina Morgan, Director, LUM Protein Food Pantry


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Food Pantry – LUM Protein Food Pantry

Josh’s Reflections On COVID-19 from the Frontlines


“After a great deal of planning to develop a safe and effective model, we enabled low income taxpayers to get their returns done for free. Many lack the technology or confidence to do their own taxes, and without the LUM tax program they might have been paying hundreds of dollars for this service. It’s taken extra work, but our 12 volunteers have been up to the challenge, and are working very hard under difficult conditions. It is clear that despite COVID-19 our program has been a success, on track to surpass 200 returns this season.”

Josh Prokopy, Director, LUM Tax Assistance Program


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Tax Assistance Program

Linda’s Reflections On COVID-19 from the Frontlines


Good Samaritan Program

“Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, ‘Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.’ The ability to help others through the Good Samaritan Program has felt hopeful during a year filled with many challenges far beyond any that I have experienced in my lifetime. So many of our clients have been overwhelmed, feeling they will never catch up with their rent and bills. Our ability to help financially, along with offering a listening ear, referrals and information on where else to turn, has helped to provide a stone of hope.

Linda Hicks, Director, LUM Good Samarian Programs


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Good Samaritan Fund

Financial Assistance – First Quarter 2021


Financial Assistance – Since January 2021

As LUM closes out the first quarter of 2021, it is worthy to note that although families are receiving their tax refunds and stimulus checks, the crisis continues.

Families are still needing financial support. Since January 1, 2021, here are the stats:

  • 382 local families have been helped
  • 138 of these families (36%) were asking for assistance for the first time
  • $43,032.57 has been distributed so far

LUM hopes you agree that investing in the LUM Good Samaritan Program is a wonderful way to support your community and those in need of emergency assistance. If you are able, please consider a donation. One hundred percent of what you give will be passed along to struggling households, perhaps one in your own neighborhood.


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Good Samaritan Fund

Thanks | 감사합니다 | Gracias | Toda | Arigato


One Year Later – Financial Assistance

During the entire pandemic the generosity of this community has been heartwarming. Some gave supplies, some gave money and some gave of their time & expertise. LUM is grateful for each and every individual, family, company, agency, group, and church who has supported LUM programs during this crisis. Thanks to our volunteers who risk their own health to keep serving others.

Pictured below are two LUM Good Samaritan Program volunteers (L to R, front row): Pat Garrott & Shirley Robertson; who are joined by LUM staff members (L to R, back row): Linda Hicks, director; Connie Decker, receptionist; & Nancy Emig, clerk.

Other notable donations to LUM for COVID-19 relief were from those listed as follows:

  • Tippecanoe COVID-19 Response Fund
  • United Way of Greater Lafayette
  • The Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette
  • Greater Lafayette Commerce
  • Fairfield Township Trustees
  • Purdue Crew Team – Row-A-Thon
  • McAllister Foundation
  • Glick Community Relief Fund
  • Regions Bank
  • Bob & Patti Truitt

If you wish to invest in the LUM Good Samaritan Program, please give a donation to the fund, which supports families and children in crisis with financial assistance.


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Good Samaritan Fund

One Year of Rapid Relief to Families in Crisis


One Year Later – Financial Assistance

In the past 12 months, a small but mighty team has kept LUM “open” and “serving” local families in financial crisis. In the beginning of the pandemic, everything had to change immediately. Despite all of the obstacles, LUM was able to continue providing emergency financial assistance using online forms, email and phone calls. The LUM Good Samaritan Program has not faced a challenge like this before but the staff members and volunteers were so passionate and focused that nothing, not even a global pandemic, could stop them.
As the news of LUM’s success spread, LUM became one of the few trusted agencies for assistance and referrals, and the donations followed. Since March 23, 2020:

  • 1,256 local families have received financial help
  • 728 of these families (58%) were asking for assistance for the FIRST time
  • An additional $213,025 of COVID-19 relief funds has been donated to LUM
  • $253,801.14 has been distributed by LUM

Pictured above are two LUM Good Samaritan Program volunteers (L to R, front row): Pat Garrott & Shirley Robertson; who are joined by LUM staff members (L to R, back row): Linda Hicks, director; Connie Decker, receptionist; & Nancy Emig, clerk.

If you wish to invest in the LUM Good Samaritan Program, please give a donation to the fund, which supports families and children in crisis with financial assistance.


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Good Samaritan Fund

Persisting & Thriving During COVID-19

One Year Later – Still Open – Still Serving


One year ago, Lafayette Urban Ministry began a journey that was filled with uncertainty and anxiety. By April 1, 2020, staff members were working from home, board meetings were happening online, and each program had to be modified. Additionally, Wes Tillett began his tenure as the LUM executive director.

First, staff members did not waver in the commitment to “stay open.” Second, LUM developed protocols. Finally, individuals, businesses & agencies responded by providing financial support.

Civic leaders, churches, agencies and families trusted LUM to distribute emergency funds, provide shelter, offer childcare, provide food assistance, and provide summer camp as well as assist with tax preparation and immigration issues — to our neighbors in need. LUM was able to host successful fundraising events like Hunger Hike, Port of Hope, and Turkey Trot 5K Run, surpassing the fundraising goals.

LUM remained open, but “how” LUM serves the families in our community changed to keep everyone as safe as possible. The leadership has been continually monitoring the recommendations and adjusting as needed. Staff members reimagined every aspect of each of the programs offered. Using technology and modifying the physical layout of our entrances, LUM was able to offer services online, through email and by phone.

The LUM Emergency Shelter, Food Pantry and Youth Programs used hand-washing, face masks, temperature checks and social distancing in common areas including the dining and sleeping rooms. The need for LUM services increased significantly but the support from donors, foundations and businesses increased as well.

There were also “silver linings.” The Board is more focused and supportive of the staff members and programs. Staff members have become a close and effective team. In the community, LUM has been a faithful partner with other agencies, collaborating to better serve the community. Families are more aware of our programs and more individuals were impacted, many for the first time.

One year later, LUM survives and continues to serve those in need while remaining financially sound. Reflecting on how much was accomplished in the past 12 months reaffirms that a gift to LUM is a sound investment, even during a global pandemic and the transition of a new executive director.


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WINCO Construction Co. Food Drive Delivers


Truckload of Much Needed Items Delivered

Last week, the team at WINCO Construction Company of West Lafayette delivered a truckload of “needed items” to LUM.

Using the LUM wishlist, the crew at WINCO was able to collect food items and paper products that will be immediately used in our After School ProgramEmergency Shelter and Food Pantries.

If you, your work-mates, church or family would like to sponsor a Food Drive for LUM, please check out the LUM list of needed items. LUM relies on monetary donation as well as gift-in-kind to allow the LUM programs to serve your neighbors in need.

Join us in THANKING everyone at WINCO Construction Company for thinking of LUM and this generous donation.