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.
“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.”
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.
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
This spring, Lafayette Urban Ministry will be expanding its food assistance program by opening the LUM Westside Food Pantryin partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County and with the support of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd.
YOU can HELP the new LUM Westside Food Pantry by “stocking the shelves” with food items before it opens later this spring.
Here are FOUR ways you can help:
Food Drive – Sponsor a food drive at your church, business or in your neighborhood. Extra Credit – Make it a MONTHLY food drive
Each night of the year, a simple meal is provided at the LUM Emergency Shelter. Planning and preparing a meal is a great activity for families, church groups, campus organizations and civic groups. You may stay and serve the meal or drop it off in advance. No contact drop off is an option as well. Monthly meals are greatly appreciated.
LUM is excited to introduce you to the president of the LUM Board of Directors, Cheryl Fowler.
Cheryl has been an active LUM volunteer for more than eight years when she was selected to represent her church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County, on the LUM Board of Directors. In addition to serving on the LUM Executive Council for the past four years, Cheryl has served on the Hunger Hike Fundraising Committee for seven years and was the program director for the LUM Community Thanksgiving Feast in 2015 & 2016.
Cheryl grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduated from Finneytown High School, and earned a BS in marketing from Miami University, Ohio. Cheryl lives in West Lafayette with her husband of 36 years, Gary, and they have an adult daughter, son-in-law and seven-month old granddaughter. In addition to her family, she draws inspiration from music, especially this Carrie Newcomer song lyric,
“The greatest revolution is a simple change of heart.”
Cheryl shared that,
“Central to my faith is the inherent worth and dignity of each person and my commitment to justice, equity and compassion for all.”
This is what drew her to get involved with Hunger Hike and the new LUM Westside Food Pantry, opening this April.
“Creating awareness of food insecurity, raising money to fight hunger and providing food assistance to local families,”
is important to Cheryl. She is most proud of her work with the LUM Executive Council, stating that,
“Serving as the liaison for my church, working with the governance of LUM and witnessing firsthand the LUM volunteers & staff making a difference in people’s lives, gives me such a positive feeling. LUM truly is in the business of helping to restore human dignity and hope.”
Following a long history of women serving with LUM, Cheryl is a humble and hardworking leader and volunteer. Over the years, she has stepped up and led when needed but has also rolled up her sleeves and participated in the day-to-day work at LUM.
“LUM helps me live out my values,”
Cheryl shared with pride and gratitude.
Cheryl also serves on the social justice team with her church and a racial justice group in the community. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, outdoor activities including camping, traveling, music and supporting the arts, and tap dancing, which she has done since she was four years old.
LUM and the children and families served by LUM are blessed to have someone like Cheryl as their leader, advocate, and servant.
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 during this global health crisis.
Your financial generosity is not only an act of hospitality toward those with no home of their own, it is also an investment in the health and safety of the greater community. If you’re interested or need more information, click HERE — or email or call Briton Weise (firstname.lastname@example.org | 765-423-2691).