Category Archives: Mission Moment

The “Grit” of LUM Homeless Services

A Letter from Wes Tillett, LUM Executive Director

“The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, 
who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” – Jesus Christ (Luke 8:15) 

GRIT. It has become one of my favorite words in these pandemic years. Grit is all about resilience, perseverance, hanging in there come-what-may. Grit is essential for living life to the fullest.  

GRIT also inspires others. It is a common theme in my wife’s favorite movies, the ones “based on the inspiring true story of a person who overcomes impossible odds.” Grit is a common theme in all of my favorite stories at LUM – the real-life stories of the people who are diligently pushing their lives in a positive direction, often by overcoming impossible odds.

LUM would not be able to provide these services without the financial support of people such as you. Thank you. 

The LUM Emergency Shelter has been near capacity all summer long. With winter just around the corner and many people struggling financially in our community, the LUM Emergency Shelter is as essential as ever. 

Will you help us continue to serve those in our community who are experiencing homelessness?  Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 to the LUM Emergency Shelter will help LUM continue to provide help and hope to those experiencing homelessness.

It takes GRIT to live victoriously. And it takes grit to give generously. It’s a matter of seeing the need (“hear the word”), choosing to help meet that need (“retain it”), and taking action (“by persevering, produce a crop”).

Thank you in advance for the grace and grit you demonstrate by supporting the LUM Emergency Shelter.

Make a Donation | Volunteer | Provide Meals | Donate Needed Items |

{To protect the privacy of this individual featured above, the name has been changed.}

Mission Moment – Jonathan’s Success Story

LUM Homeless Shelter Guest Gets Housed

Jonathan, a former LUM Emergency Shelter guest, epitomizes GRIT. His first overnight stay was back in 2019, and he’s been in and out for the past three years. Jonathan is not immune to some of the many problems that plague our guests: addiction, mental illness, unwise choices, emotional and physical disabilities, difficult pasts, tumultuous family situations, and simply bad luck. 

Recently Jonathan was able to secure long-term employment, which enabled him to utilize the LUM “Match Program.” As a part of this program, Jonathan paid $5 as “rent” each night he stayed at the shelter. When he was able to sign a lease for an apartment, LUM returned this “match” money plus matched it — dollar for dollar. He doubled his money to use toward his deposit and rent — and learned how to save and invest in his future. Jonathan is not alone. So far in 2022, 388 guests have utilized the LUM Emergency Shelter 7,387 times. In addition, 175 guests utilized the LUM Winter Warming Station 972 times (January-April). 

Because of supporters such as YOU, LUM was able to provide Jonathan and hundreds of others with a safe, warm, supportive overnight place to stay at a critical point in their life. With the help of LUM and many others, Jonathan is rebuilding his life, day by day. Tiny step by tiny step. Despite setbacks and hurdles. With resolute determination. With GRITJonathan possesses the grit needed to utilize the programs of LUM and obtain a brighter future.

Make a Donation | Volunteer | Provide Meals | Donate Needed Items |

{To protect the privacy of this individual featured above, the name has been changed.}

Mission Moment – The Story of Tina

LUM Helps Divert the Eviction of a Local Family

Her tears of desperation turned into tears of gratitude. Tina came to Lafayette Urban Ministry looking for some financial assistance with her rent. She had fallen behind on rent due to several COVID-19 related factors. With her kids at home (quarantined from school), Tina could not work the same number of hours at her job. When her employer reduced her hours on the next schedule, it compounded her financial loss. Tina found an additional job at a lower hourly wage and simply could not make up for the lost income. Her landlord’s patience wore thin. 

When a friend told her LUM might be able to help, Tina filled out the LUM Good Samaritan Program application online. When LUM was able to help her get caught up on rent, Tina’s tears of relief and gratitude streamed down her face. 

If you have given to the Good Samaritan Program, “Thank you. Your generosity is changing lives like Tina and her family. May you be blessed for blessing others. 

Make a Donation Button
Good Samaritan Fund

{To protect the privacy of this individual featured above, the name has been changed.}

Jay Gives Free Haircuts and So Much More

Jay Soto, Local Barber Volunteers at LUM

Once a month Jay Soto will be offering FREE haircuts in the LUM Office for clients and Emergency Shelter guests. A native of Lafayette and graduate of McCutcheon High School, he is a talented barber with the J. Clark Barbershop, Lafayette.

At LUM Jay gives much more than just a haircut. His interactions with each person are special. Jay gives his undivided attention — offering love, hope and respect. As he masterfully trims each person’s hair, you can see dignity restored and confidence built in each of his “customers.”

Help us THANK Jay Soto for this wonderful gift he is giving the LUM clients, especially those experiencing homelessness. Jay’s desire to give back is inspiring.

Mission Moment – The Story of Beth’s Journey

As Told by Linda Hicks, LUM Program Director

Beth came to the LUM Office seeking assistance with the LUM Good Samaritan Program. She needed help with the deposit on her new apartment. Over the past five years Beth needed financial assistance twice, the LUM Emergency Shelter several times, and used the LUM food pantries regularly up through 2019. Beth wore a baseball cap tilted down to cover part of her face and hide the scars, both physical and emotional. Connie, the LUM receptionist, greeted her and soon learned that Beth had escaped an abusive relationship; and as a result of the abuse, had lost sight in one eye. She was having trouble finding permanent housing and difficulty finding employment. Beth felt that employers were hesitant to hire her because one of her eyes was white in color.

Beth now has a prosthetic eye and receives monthly disability payments, but is still emotionally fragile and managing her funds is a challenge. Just as she was about to secure housing, she panicked that it wouldn’t work out and she’d be homeless once again. She was in need of funding; but more than that, Beth needed compassion and understanding and a safe place. In tears (with her mask on), Beth sat in the LUM lobby telling Connie, of her fears. Connie listened (also masked), held her arms open and said, “Now come here.” Beth dropped into her arms and sobbed. The tears eventually stopped, Beth took a breath, gathered up her courage and was on her way.

She returned later that day with a smile on her face because she signed a lease for an apartment! Beth was relieved and grateful, not only for the funding, but also for the kindness. It was a day to be reminded of the magic that a hug and an open heart can hold. We all matter in the world no matter what our station in life. 

Make a Donation Button
Good Samaritan Fund

{To protect the privacy of this individual featured above, the name has been changed.}

Mission Moment – The Story of a Single Father

Shirley Advocates For & Reunites Family

LUM Good Samaritan Program advocate, Shirley Robertson, spoke with Steven, a single father of three children, who had his gas & electric service disconnected. In the meantime, he was heating his apartment with the oven, and temporarily moved his children in with their grandmother.

This father had many difficulties pile on in quick succession beginning with a cancer diagnosis in early January. Steven’s work hours were then reduced due COVID-19 because he was consider high risk, but the cancer treatments continued.

Steven was having a hard time getting the help needed to restore his service. Shirley made a phone call to his utility provider to determine the amount he needed to get his service restored. She created a plan, which drew from a few different funds, to come up with the total amount this local family needed.

After the amount was pledged, his service was restored and his family was reunited, Steven called Shirley at LUM. Speaking with her, he became emotional. He was holding back tears of gratitude, not only for the help that was offered, but also for the opportunity to personally thank Shirley for her kindness and compassion in listening to his story and offering guidance through a new and scary experience.

Make a Donation Button
Good Samaritan Fund

{To protect the privacy of the family featured above, their names have been changed.}

LUM Video – Giving Help, Giving Hope – For Your Use

Share with Others How Much You Love LUM

If you love and support Lafayette Urban Ministry and want to share your passion with others — the LUM Video is for you!
LUM produced the video, “Giving Help, Giving Hope,” to be used 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 is available to the public through the LUM website, and anyone, including YOU, as well as member churches, may use the video to entice others 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. Please SHARE with others today.
Spread the love!

LUM Video – Giving Help, Giving Hope

Lafayette Urban Ministry presents the video, “Giving Help, Giving Hope,” which is being 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 is 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.

Please share with your members. Thanks.

The Stories of Lakesha, Erica & Shavonn

Dear Friend,

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.

Last year, 4,723 households were served by the Lafayette Urban

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 the Lafayette 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 at

Make a Donation Button
Donate to LUM


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?

Make a Donation Button
Good Samaritan Fund