Category Archives: Uncategorized

Honoring LUM Staff – Celebrating Historic Year


Persistence | Passion | Love | Determination


This past Tuesday, the dedicated staff members of Lafayette Urban Ministry gathered at Lafayette Brewing Company for the annual LUM staff appreciation lunch to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of 2020, a unique & historic year.

The success of LUM last year can, in part, be attributed to the Persistence, Passion, Love and Determination of each member of the LUM staff.


Thanks to Lafayette Brewing Company management and staff for creating a safe environment for our annual luncheon as well as for great food & service. 


Pictured L to R are Pablo Malavenda, Eileen Weiss, Wes Tillett, Nancy Emig, Gayle Koning, Briton Weise, Patrick Renfroe, Linda Hicks, Minnette Trent, and Nina Morgan.

Neil Klemme Match Program Raises $12,000

LUM was excited to partner again this year with the Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency, a local small business, for the annual November Match Program. Thanks to the generosity of Neil Klemme, State Farm, and all of our November donors the effort raised more than $12,000. This will give LUM a tremendous boost in the effort to support local families and children in our community with food assistance, emergency financial assistance, Christmas assistance, low-cost childcare and more. LUM is fortunate and grateful to have this support from the Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency — and YOU! Please contact Neil Klemme when you get a chance and thank him and his team.

Double Your Donation – Only Until Monday


Klemme $3,600 Match Ends Monday (11/30)


There are only four more days to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to DOUBLE your DONATION to Lafayette Urban Ministry.

Your gift will support families, children and those experiencing homelessness right here in your community through LUM programs and services.
During the month of November ONLY — Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance has agreed to match donations up to $3,600.

Click the Double your Donation button below and your gift — and your impact — will be doubled. Join us in thanking Neil Klemme & State Farm Insurance for making this possible. Please share this with others.

Join us in thanking Neil Klemme & State Farm Insurance for making this possible.

This is an exciting partnership because Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency is a local business. LUM is fortunate and grateful to have this support from Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency.

Double Your Donation – NOW through Nov. 30


NOW through November 30
Neil Klemme Insurance Agency will Match your Donation


Don’t miss this unique opportunity to DOUBLE your DONATION to Lafayette Urban Ministry. Support the LUM programs and services offered to local families & children during the month of November — and Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance will match donations up to $3,600.

Click the “Klemme Match” button below and your gift — and your impact — will be doubled.

Join us in thanking Neil Klemme & State Farm Insurance for making this possible.

This is an exciting partnership because Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency is a local business. LUM is fortunate and grateful to have this support from Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency.

DOUBLE your DONATION to LUM


NOW through November 30
Neil Klemme State Farm $3,600 Match


For the entire month of November, the Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency of West Lafayette is offering a “$3,600 Match Donation” in support of LUM. 

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to DOUBLE your DONATION to Lafayette Urban Ministry. Support the LUM programs and services offered to local families & children during the month of November — and Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance will match donations up to $3,600.

Click the “Klemme Match” button below and your gift — and your impact — will be doubled. Join us in thanking Neil Klemme & State Farm Insurance for making this possible.

This is an exciting partnership because Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency is a local business. LUM is fortunate and grateful to have this support from Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency.

Neil Klemme Insurance $3,600 Match Program


NOW through November 30
Neil Klemme Insurance Agency will Match your Donation


For the entire month of November, the Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency of West Lafayette is offering a “$3,600 Match Donation” in support of LUM. 

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to DOUBLE your DONATION to Lafayette Urban Ministry. Support the LUM programs and services offered to local families & children during the month of November — and Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance will match donations up to $3,600.

Click the “Klemme Match” button below and your gift — and your impact — will be doubled. Join us in thanking Neil Klemme & State Farm Insurance for making this possible.

This is an exciting partnership because Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency is a local business. LUM is fortunate and grateful to have this support from Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency.

Neil Klemme Insurance $3,600 Match Program

$3,600 Match – Entire Month of November

For the entire month of November, the Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency of West Lafayette is offering a “$3,600 Match Donation” in support of LUM. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to “double your donation” to LUM and increase your impact on strengthening local families thanks to the generosity of Neil Klemme Insurance Agency.

It’s simple — click the “Klemme Match” button from November 1 through November 30, make a donation, and the Neil Klemme Insurance Agency will match donations up to $3,600.

This is an exciting partnership because Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency is a local business. LUM is fortunate and grateful to have this support from Neil Klemme State Farm Insurance Agency.


November 1 through November 30
Neil Klemme Insurance Agency will Match your Donation to LUM

Holder Bedding Match Donation

 

 

Neil Klemme Insurance $3,000 Match Donation

 


SoV – Adjusting to COVID-19


Streams of Hope – Adjust to COVID

Kurtis Kaechele took the reins at Streams of Hope on February 17, just weeks before Michigan’s shelter-in-place order took effect.  At that time, the agency had to switch their food pantry to a drive-through model and shutter most of their other programs.  But now, seven months into COVID, how is Streams of Hope adjusting to the pandemic?

The Streams of Hope food pantry is still offering drive-through pick-up, but in July they also added a new appointment option.  Clients can make an appointment online and come into the pantry to shop for themselves.  They allow one appointment every five minutes.  Clients have to wear a mask while they’re in the pantry, and Streams of Hope takes their temperature and asks all of the standard health checklist questions.  After that, each client has fifteen minutes to shop.  They get a personal shopper who goes around the pantry with them, helping them to select items while also talking to them about their family and connecting them to other programs.

Before adopting this model, Streams of Hope surveyed their food pantry clients to see how people felt about coming into the pantry, and if they had internet access to book appointments.  Based on the results of that survey, they decided to keep drive-through pick-up, and about 60% of their clients continue to use that option.

Prior to COVID, Streams of Hope also offered a wide range of programs for children – from tutoring to helping kids find jobs, have fun, and engage in meaningful conversation with their peers.  While a lot of their programs for middle and high school youth have remained on hold, Streams of Hope has been able to bring back their evening tutoring program for elementary school students.  Over the summer they offered an online tutoring program, which worked but didn’t bring in the numbers they would have liked.  They have since switched tacks and opened up their gym.  They installed plexiglass dividers, and are now able to accommodate up to 80 children at a time with masks and sanitizing. Tutoring takes place twice a week on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and while some kids still connect with them online they have about 50 children a night showing up on site.

They also got a grant to improve their internet connection and make additional safety upgrades to their gym so that if schools have to shut down, they can provide a safe place for parents to bring their children for online education.  As a bonus, those same changes will allow them to use the gym to start a GED program for adults.

In addition, their Circles GR program – which provides training and weekly meetings to help clients build a support network and climb out of poverty – has continued virtually without a break.  And Streams of Hope also recently re-opened their weekly medical clinic and started seeing patients on site.

So, despite all the obstacles COVID has thrown in their path, Streams of Hope continues to find new and innovative ways to serve their community.

SoV – Meet an Executive Director


Wes Tillett – Lafayette Urban Ministry

Wes Tillett grew up in Indiana.  He first worked at Lafayette Urban Ministry (LUM) as a teacher in the After School Program before going on to spend seven years as a youth minister and eight years as a lead pastor.  He founded a church called Voyage Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There he also created a small network of churches to serve the needs of the local neighborhood through tutoring, mentoring, food distribution, and providing school supplies to those in need.  

In April 2020 he returned to LUM to serve as the new executive director.  He stepped into the role right in the midst of Indiana’s stay-at-home order, at a time when almost all of the agency’s staff were working from home and every program was being restructured to help keep the staff, volunteers, and clients safe.  This would have been difficult enough in itself, but he was also following in the wake of LUM’s previous executive director, Joe Micon, who held the post for thirty-two years.

Of course, COVID also meant that it took more than two months for Wes to meet many of his staff face-to-face. And during that time, the entire staff- including Wes – were carrying an extra emotional strain, trying to grieve the losses of life and of normalcy.  They were facing a situation with no easy answers or quick solutions, and working from home inhibited the sense of community and healthy office culture that is usually LUM’s norm.

In short, it was a challenging time to step into his new role, and one that required even more energy and discernment than usual.  But oddly enough, one of the blessings of COVID was that it caused everything to be so strange, so off-kilter, that it helped to soften the culture shock that might otherwise have accompanied the transition to a new executive director. 

As a pastor, faith plays a central role in Wes’s life.  He believes deeply that God calls us to both justice and mercy.  Part of what drew him to LUM was his conviction that by working there he could help offer mercy and compassion to those in need while fighting for justice against the systems that oppress and injure people.  Another major draw was the collaborative nature of the organization – many churches working together towards a common goal, in cooperation with nonprofits, businesses, and local government. Wes sees that ability to cooperate as an encouraging sign that people can and will put aside their political and theological differences to serve those in need.

Outside of work, Wes enjoys being a dad.  He and his wife Rita have four kids.  Wes tries to give almost all of his extra time and energy to them.  He especially enjoys engaging with his kids in some of the things he is already most passionate about: hiking, kayaking, swimming, music, and art.

SoV – Neighbors Empowered


Program – Neighbors Empowered

Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center’s Neighbors Empowered program is designed to help single mothers work towards self-sufficiency and build a better life for themselves and their children. 

The program is a 10 week class structured around the workbook Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting–By World.  The first hour of each class is actually a family dinner for the women and their children.  After that, the children go to supervised childcare for two hours, while the women meet as a group with a trained facilitator.  Each week they cover a different topic, from big ideas like understanding the causes of poverty, to the nitty gritty of setting goals and making a budget.

Each time the women come to class, they get a $25 grocery store gift card.  Combined with the family meal and childcare, Valley Interfaith is trying to address all of the potential reasons a single mom might have for not participating.  According to Executive Director John Keuffer, that gift card often serves as a vital incentive for the first three or four classes, until the women begin to see the value in what they’re doing.

Through the class, the women develop strong bonds with one another, forming a vital ongoing support structure that can help them as they delve into the work of restarting their education, getting better jobs, and building a future for their family.

John likes to tell the story of one woman who thought she was too old to go back to school, but had a passion for baking.  Through Neighbors Empowered, Valley Interfaith connected her to a program that helps train cooks.  She completed it and went on to become a pastry chef at a local restaurant, even starting a small catering business on the side. 

The biggest obstacle Valley Interfaith has encountered in running the Neighbors Empowered program has been the cost in staff time and gift cards.  They’re trying to address this problem by reaching out to their partner churches.  Their goal is to train facilitators so that the churches can run their own groups – with Valley Interfaith recruiting and screening participants and the churches providing the meals, childcare, facilitation, and – ideally – gift cards.  These new classes would also be smaller, with only 5 women each – as compared to the 10-20 they currently have – which could in turn provide for a tighter support structure while also allowing for increased social distancing in the time of COVID.