Category Archives: Mission Moment

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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.
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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

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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?

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Good Samaritan Fund

Mission Moment – The Story of Patrick Renfroe

A Letter from Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director

Fifty-eight year old Patrick Renfroe drank his first beer when he was just 12. At age 13 he was drinking hard liquor and smoking pot. By age 18 Patrick was buying and using crack cocaine.

He grew up in a home that was haunted by addiction. Both his father and sister lost their lives to drug and alcohol abuse. Patrick spent a total of 15 years in various Indiana prisons and the Tippecanoe County Community Corrections Program – all because of drug-related convictions.

Over the years, Patrick’s addiction took everything that was dear and important to him – his family, friends, employment, his freedom and even his physical health. In 2016, he suffered two strokes, one on each side of his brain, within the period of a single week.

It was during his rehab to regain his balance that Patrick realized he was powerless over his addiction. Unless he confronted his 45 year history of substance abuse soon, he knew his days would be numbered. Patrick shares,

“I was just so sick and tired of always being sick and tired.”

In May of this year, Patrick moved out of his apartment to escape the unhealthy influence of his roommates, and he started spending his nights at the LUM Emergency Shelter. Here he found a place that was not only bright, clean and friendly, but also a place that was supportive in his journey to sobriety.

At LUM, Patrick was exposed to various substance abuse helps, including…

  • Weekly AA meetings
  • Bi-weekly programs where resources are shared and testimony is provided by others who are fighting addiction
  • Immediate transportation for those who desire in-patient addiction treatment
  • A professional staff that understands addiction and speaks openly and honestly with guests about their illness

In addition, Patrick took frequent advantage of addiction groups and programs offered by various downtown Lafayette churches, all within short walking distance of the LUM shelter.

In the past year, 704 individuals came to the LUM Emergency Shelter. Each stayed an average of 12 nights – 8,448 overnight stays. In addition, LUM provided an overnight warming station, ensuring that nobody was stranded overnight on the streets of our community without a place to be safe and warm during the harsh winter months. An additional 584 overnight stays took place at the LUM Winter Warming Station.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the varied and complex problems facing our chronically homeless guests. Addiction, mental illness, poor life choices and emotional and physical disabilities are never easy to overcome. But with skill, perseverance and dedication, LUM staff members are often successful in helping our guests move off the streets into more self-sufficient living environments.

Please, won’t you support this important work with your dollars?

Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 will help the LUM Emergency Shelter provide addiction services and provide our homeless guests with the support they need to leave our shelter for a home of their own.

With money that Patrick was able to save from a brand new job at a local restaurant – and with a dollar-for-dollar match provided him by LUM – he was recently able to move out of the LUM Emergency Shelter and into a home of his own.

Patrick continues to attend daily NA or AA meetings and is proud that he has now been drug and alcohol free for seven months. He finds comfort and joy from being more active in his church and is grateful for everyone in his life who is helping him on his road to recovery.

In other words, Patrick Renfroe is grateful for YOU!

I hope you are as excited as I am about the positive changes that, together, we are making possible in the lives of those we serve. Lafayette Urban Ministry is providing more than just a well-run, safe and secure shelter for homeless individuals. We are providing the support, encouragement and tools our homeless guests need in their struggle with addiction. We are helping them to live more independent, self-sufficient lives. Please, won’t you join me today in making a generous financial gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry Emergency Shelter?

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Emergency Shelter

LUM Announces New Promotional Video

LUM Video 2018 – Now Available to Online

Lafayette Urban Ministry is excited to announce a new promotional video. The LUM Video is stunning and will be 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. LUM worked with Gary Higgins of Indiana Motion Pictures to produce the video.

The LUM Video features narration from Kristin Malavenda, Purdue communications director & former NPR host, and heart-felt stories of how LUM “Gives Help & Gives Hope” each and every day of the year from the following:

  • Jaqueline Albarenga-Flores, LUM volunteer
  • Fr. Patrick Baikauskas OP, Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Center, LUM member church
  • Tiffany Hicks & her children, Chastity & Cincere (pictured below), LUM clients
  • Martin & Patty Jischke, former Purdue president & first lady
  • Joe Micon, LUM executive director
  • Patti O’Callaghan, LUM volunteer & former staff member
  • Deb Parent, LUM board member & volunteer (pictured above)
  • Arwin & Judy Provonsha, LUM volunteers
  • Andrea Schmidt, LUM volunteer

This short LUM promotional video is now available on the LUM YouTube Channel.

YOU may NOW use the new LUM video to entice your members, family, friends & colleagues to engage and invest in Lafayette Urban Ministry. LUM relies on donations and volunteers to continue to offer support to the families and children in our community; so, please share the new LUM video soon & often.

You are now invited to take a look at the new LUM Video by clicking the image below.