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?
Briton grew up in Otterbein, Indiana, and married his high school sweetheart, Kendyl. Kendyl is the guidance director at Central Catholic High School (Lafayette), and they now live in Lafayette with their nine-month-old son, Bowen. They are members of Covenant Church (West Lafayette), and Briton is active with the music ministry. A graduate of Benton Central High School (Otterbein), Briton earned a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University (Upland) in Christian Education and anticipates finishing his Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University this fall.
Briton finds inspiration in his faith, especially this Bible passage from the Lord to Zechariah:
You must do what is right and fair. You must be kind and show mercy to each other. Don’t hurt widows and orphans, strangers, or poor people. Don’t even think of doing bad things to each other!
Prior to LUM, Briton coordinated agency relations and community outreach for the local food bank, including overseeing the partner agency program and backpack program. He also has experience as a youth minister and an adult education and ESL teacher.
He is excited to be a part of the team at Lafayette Urban Ministry, Briton has a passion for helping people and leading others to do the same. So far has at LUM, he has enjoyed being able to “bring love to bear toward our neighbors in tangible and meaningful ways.” For fun, Briton enjoys spending time with his family, playing his guitar, reading and woodworking.
LUM is fortunate to have Briton Weise join the LUM staff. Please join us in welcoming him to the LUM team.
This generous in-kind donation comes from Bombas, a company founded on the philosophy of donating socks to those in need. For every pair they sell, they donate a pair. To date, Bombas has donated close to 40 million socks across the US. LUM is fortunate to be one of their partner agencies. It is such a blessing to our guests and children, who do not often get new clothes.
Thanks to Bombas for the support, especially during these difficult times.
LUM is open for business, but “how” LUM serves the families in our community has been modified again this week to keep pace with the Back on Track Indiana timeline. A summary of LUM services offered during LUM Phase 4 are as follows:
LUM staff members attended mandatory COVID- 19 training last Wednesday (pictured). The LUM Office is closed to drop-in visitors, but starting this week, clients may be seen by appointment, if they cannot get assistance remotely. Clients (with appointments), staff & volunteers must wear a mask, wash their hands and get their temperature taken before entering. Anyone who is sick, or has COVID-19 warning signs or symptoms will be not allowed to enter. LUM assistance is being offered to local families & children remotely whenever possible using online forms, email and phone calls.
For more details on the LUM COVID-19 Response, click HERE
Through Memorial Day, LUM will continue to offer local families financial & food assistance, immigration services, and shelter for those experiencing homelessness.
On May 26, the LUM 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program will begin with 45 students enrolled. Decisions about how LUM operates in June & July will be made in the next few weeks. Planning for LUM Camp is moving forward, with firm resolve that our 57-year tradition will continue in one form or another. Here are more details on how LUM continues to serve local families in our community today.
LUM Office – 420 N 4th Street, Lafayette, IN
Phones are staffed from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday – Friday
No in-person visitors or clients are permitted
CDC & state guidelines will be followed and exceeded
Staff who are able to work from home will continue to do so
DONATIONS of COVID-19 Supplies accepted. To learn more and see our list of needed items, click HERE.
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.
LUM is open for business, but “how” LUM serves the families in our community has been modified to keep everyone as safe as possible. Below is information on how LUM is continuing to serve the families in our community today.
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 | firstname.lastname@example.org).