Even before Indiana issued the Stay-At-Home order, LUM and other community agencies sprang into action to address the realities of the pandemic. Portable sinks were purchased, others were donated. Masks were hand-made and distributed free of charge. Extra protocols were put into effect, such as cleaning, sanitizing, taking nightly temperature checks, and practicing social distancing. And, as has been the case since it began in 1984, the LUM Emergency Shelter never missed a night of offering a safe, warm, secure place to those experiencing homelessness in our community.
In the first eight months of 2020, LUM has provided over 5,500 overnight stays to 489 individuals, with four of those months in the midst of a global pandemic. All of the adaptation to COVID-19 realities has not been without cost. Additional cleaning supplies and equipment have been purchased and used. Volunteerism almost disappeared entirely during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. Additional paid staff hours have filled the volunteer gap.
Nonetheless, LUM has continued to address the complex problems facing our guests who are chronically homeless. Addiction, mental illness, emotional and physical disabilities, and unwise choices — all exacerbated by the anxieties of the pandemic — have never been harder to overcome. But the LUM staff members, now led by the new LUM Emergency Shelter director, Briton Weise, have resiliently served our guests, helping the guests to see brighter future possibilities.
Do you remember where you were on the night of Monday, March 23,when “Stay Home, Stay Safe” was ordered for the State of Indiana?
I was home, safe and warm, playing board games with my wife and kids. Logan Smith (not his real name) was lining up in the frigid 37 degree temperatures to get inside the LUM Emergency Shelter. For Logan and many other people in Tippecanoe County who had no place to call home, “Stay Home, Stay Safe” was frighteningly unrealistic.
How does one stay home and safe with no place to call home?
How does one regularly wash one’s hands without access to a sink?
How does one wear a mask when one doesn’t have one?
LUM was there for Loganon March 23 — and every night since, providing a place to temporarily call home and stay safe. LUM understood that the risk of COVID-19 to the homeless population was not just a health concern for individuals experiencing homelessness themselves but, due to the highly contagious nature of coronavirus, a risk to broader public health as well.
I am grateful that Logan had somewhere to go on March 23 to stay safe from the cold, and stay safe from coronavirus. There are brighter days ahead for Logan and for all of us. We may have several more months of difficulty before we get there. God will give Logan and all of us strength to persevere.
Please, will you make a generous financial gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry Emergency Shelter, so that we can continue to offer people like Logan a warm, safe and caring place to shelter in these pandemic times?
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 (email@example.com | 765-423-2691).
Currently there are openings for Overnight Shelter Volunteers. Volunteers are needed 365 nights a year from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. or 8 p.m. to midnight. Duties include check-in, serve dinner, and distribute toiletries. Volunteers must be able to maintain confidentiality, interact with a variety of people, be at least 18 years old, and attend one Shelter Training Session. If you’re interested or need more information, click HERE — or email or call Briton Weise (firstname.lastname@example.org| 765-423-2691).
The LUM Emergency Shelter is open with a strict protocol for intake, check in, food service, and sleeping arrangements, which requires cleaning supplies, bleach, soap, masks, gloves, and specialized equipment such as thermometers and portable sinks. LUM is thankful for the support of individuals, families, groups and churches.
Most recently, the Greater Lafayette Chinese Alliance Church, West Lafayette, donated 200 medical masks (pictured) and the Innovation Church, Lafayette, donated toilet paper and has scheduled a “cleaning supplies” drive. If you, your church, your company or your family wishes to make a cash donation or a donation of “needed items” to the LUM Emergency Shelter, click HERE. THANK YOU to all of the families, churches and groups that given their love and support to the LUM Emergency Shelter these past few weeks.
If you with to donate NEEDED ITEMS to LUM, check out our “wishlist.” To view, click HERE.
Brandyn Stack grew up in Mahomet, Illinois and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Illinois University. He currently lives in Lafayette with his son, Aaron (13), and their two dogs, Molly & Chelsea; and they are members of Faith Church – East in Lafayette. Brandyn works for RFA Engineering as a consultant at Caterpillar Lafayette.
At LUM, Brandyn has been volunteering with the LUM Emergency Shelter. Two years ago, while working through a difficult time for his family, Brandyn decided to “start living a Christian life once again and love and serve God.” The LUM Emergency Shelter fit his schedule and served a clientele that excited him. Brandyn soon found opportunities through his church and other agencies where he could offer his time as well as build a rapport with individuals in need. He shared that,
“There are times when I get to sit down and talk with folks and have a positive impact on them — and even sometimes bring them to Christ.”
Brandyn has been particularly helpful during the COVID-19 crisis and Indiana Stay-At-Home Order. When the LUM Emergency Shelter was losing volunteers, Brandyn stepped up and volunteered even more — and brought his own P95 mask for protection. Dave Heckert, the LUM Emergency Shelter director, stated, “It means so much to the shelter staff when he shows up to volunteer. Brandyn has been such a blessing to LUM as well as to the community at large.” Brandyn shared that,
“No one should have to sleep outside. It gives me joy to get to know each individual, humbling to hear what they’re going through, and inspiring to know that they are on a path of recovery and forgiveness. I am happy to do a little of God’s good work by helping individuals experiencing homelessness.”
In his free time, Brandyn loves spending time with his son, Aaron. They enjoy playing advanced board games, boating, watching movies, attending live concerts —and of course volunteering at LUM together. LUM and the guests at the shelter are fortunate to have someone like Brandyn as a part of the team.
Deb & Tom Parent recently purchased to two portable sinks for Lafayette Urban Ministry. The portable sinks will be used by individuals signing up for and checking into the LUM Emergency Shelter, who will be required to wash their hands before entering. During the COVID-19 threat, the sinks will be placed outside of LUM Emergency Shelter & Office.
Thank you to the Parent Family for their generous gift. Here are a few ways you, your organization and your business can support and invest in Lafayette Urban Ministry & Emergency Shelter.
Dave Heckerd, LUM Emergency Shelter director, participated in a panel discussion entitled, Pursuing Economic & Social Justice, for the Martin Luther King 2020 Celebration at Purdue University. The event was sponsored by the Colleges of Agriculture and Health & Human Services. The panel included other local nonprofit professionals who work with food assistance, homeless services and family support; and was moderated by Dr. Timothy Bond, associate professor of Economics in the Purdue Krannert School of Business. LUM wishes to thank Dr. Shalyse Iseminger and the sponsoring Colleges for including Dave Heckert is such an important discussion. If your class or group wishes to engage one of the LUM staff members in your programs, please email or call to make arrangements (765-423-2691 | email@example.com).
With the opening of the community’s new Engagement Center (815 N 12th St, Lafayette), there are opportunities to improve how individuals experiencing homelessness receive assistance and services. Communication between LUM & LTHC Homeless Services will continue to be vital in creating a supportive and caring community.
Last week, the LUM staff met with LTHC staff at their new Engagement Center for a tour and discussion about new ways to collaborate. The meeting was positive, informative, and constructive. New procedures have been instituted that enhance the services offered by both LUM and LTHC Homeless Services and further the missions of both. Attending the meeting (pictured L to R) were Dave Heckert, LUM Emergency Shelter director; Pablo Malavenda, executive program director; Jennifer Shook, LTHC Homeless Services development director; Linda Hicks, LUM Good Samaritan Program director; Jennifer Layton, LTHC Homeless Services executive director; and Joe Micon, LUM executive director.
This is a new beginning, which will only strengthen this important partnership. LUM appreciates the support and hospitality from our friends at LTHC Homeless Services.
Currently there are openings for Overnight Shelter Volunteers. Volunteers are needed 365 nights a year from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. or 8 p.m. to midnight. Duties include check-in, serve dinner, and distribute toiletries. Volunteers must be able to maintain confidentiality, interact with a variety of people, be at least 18 years old, and attend one Shelter Training Session. Training sessions are offered every Monday night at 6:30 p.m. (no need to register for training).
If you’re interested or need more information, click HERE — or email or call David Heckert (firstname.lastname@example.org | 765-423-2691).