Tag Archives: todd wesbrook

Meet Jess – New LUM Thanksgiving Director

Jess Avila – LUM Community Thanksgiving Feast

Jess Avila is the new director for the LUM Community Thanksgiving Feast. She is responsible for all aspects of the annual celebration where more than 800 free meals will be distributed on Thanksgiving (11/26) at Central Presbyterian Church, Lafayette.

Jess is originally from Liberty, New York, and moved to West Lafayette with her family. She graduated from Harrison High School, served in the US Army Reserves for four years, earned an associates degree from Ivy Tech Community College in Child Development, and a BA in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Pre-Law from Purdue University. She still lives in West Lafayette and is engaged to be married to Phil in 2021. They have 15 nieces and nephews and three cats (Tucker, Bentley & Panther). Jess is a personal trainer, youth exercise specialist & nutrition coach with a local fitness center; and head girls basketball and track & field coach at Klondike Middle School. With LUM, Jess & Phil have volunteered for more than six years including the Community Thanksgiving Feast (pictured).

Jess shares that,

I am most happy when I am helping others 
— both people and animals.” 

She finds inspiration in “young people who give us this bright light and hope for a better future.” She has great empathy for families struggling with poverty and food insecurity. Jess shared that,

My mom did her best but needed help and sometimes we were left feeling worthless, hopeless, sad, scared and confused because we needed that help.

Jess admires LUM, sharing that,

I see all of the LUM staff members working to serve while ‘restoring dignity,’ as stated in the mission statement.

Jess enjoys nature (kayaking, hiking, running, biking, and feeding wild animals), cooking, reading, watching movies, comedy, activism and social justice, being a Purdue & New York Jets fan, watching and playing sports, hanging out at home with Phil, and ranch dressing.

LUM is fortunate to have Jess Avila join the LUM staff.

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Thanksgiving Celebration


Meet Kathy – LUM Thanksgiving Director

Kathy F. Parker is the new program director for the LUM Community Thanksgiving Celebration. She is responsible for all aspects of the annual LUM Community Thanksgiving Celebration where over 800 free meals will be served on Thanksgiving at Central Presbyterian Church, Lafayette. The event also includes live entertainment, festive decorations and community fellowship.

Kathy grew up in Storrs, Connecticut (home of the University of Connecticut) and now lives in West Lafayette with her husband of 25 years, Brad, and their three children, Allie, Gabe & Caroline. Allie is a senior at Butler University, Gabe is a first-year student at Purdue University and Caroline is a sophomore at West Lafayette High School. They are members of Central Presbyterian Church and have two dogs, Duke and Jax, who they rescued in 2014. Kathy earned a BA in History from Roanoke College (Salem, VA) and an elementary teaching certificate from the University of Rhode Island. With LUM, Kathy serves on the Hunger Hike Fundraising Committee and engaged Central Presbyterian in this year’s fundraising event.

Kathy shares that “it is my mission to consciously live, aware of the needs of others, and the injustice that surrounds us, and purposefully do what little I can to spread light to those around me.” She finds inspiration in “women who are unafraid to boldly speak up for justice.” Kathy is excited about her new role with LUM, and stated that “I love that the mission of LUM is not reserved only for those who call themselves ‘Christian.’ God is much bigger than any one faith, and He finds a way to use all of us. The people who work for LUM are faithful servants of a God who uses everyone to His purpose. It is an honor to be among them.”

Kathy enjoys being active in the community and with her church as well as yoga, coffee with friends and card games with her family. 

LUM is fortunate to have Kathy Parker join the LUM staff.

If you with to donate food for or volunteer at the LUM Community Thanksgiving Celebration, click HERE.

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Thanksgiving Celebration

Meet Josh – LUM Turkey Trot 5K Run Director

Josh J. Prokopy is the new program director for the LUM Turkey Trot 5K Run He is responsible for all aspects of the annual LUM Turkey Trot 5K Run where hundreds of people will run, walk and stroll the 5K course early in the morning on Thanksgiving day (11/23). 

Josh grew up in Conway, Massachusetts and now lives in West Lafayette with his wife, Linda, and their three children, Annabel, Margaret & David. Anabel & Margaret are both 13 years old and in 8th grade at West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School, and David (10) is in 5th grade at Happy Hollow Elementary School, West Lafayette. They are members of Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County. Josh earned a bachelor’s in independent concentration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master’s in Sociology and Master’s in Social Work both from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Josh is active in the community with housing related organizations and with his church.

Josh shares that “my priorities are to raise my family as best I can, to let loose children who care about the world and our future, to better understand the world around me, and to try and make a difference, at least in a small way, within my community.” He finds inspiration in his father, “who was extremely independent minded and hard working, and never cared a hoot for what anyone else thought of him. He lived his own life in his own way, but did so much to enrich the world around him.” Josh is excited about his role with LUM, and stated that “If we can do anything at all to give people a renewed sense of hope, than we’ve made a huge impact in their lives.”

Josh is an avid home-brewer of beer, a writer of young adult fiction and has a 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo. He belongs to a writer’s critique group in Indianapolis, has two published short stories and a novel in the works. He enjoys being out in nature, and spending time with friends and family engaged in meaningful conversation, “preferably over a glass of excellent home-brewed beer.”

LUM is fortunate to have Josh Prokopy join the LUM staff.

If you wish to participate in or donate to the Turkey Trot 5K Run, click HERE.

Behind the Scenes at the LUM Shelter

Here is a behind the scenes look at the check in desk at the LUM Emergency Shelter featuring Audra Jarrard, LUM shelter security staff member, and new LUM shelter director, Todd Wesbrook.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a member of the LUM shelter security staff, click HERE (and scroll down) for information on how to apply.

If you wish to volunteer with the LUM shelter, click HERE.

If you wish to make a donation to the LUM Emergency Shelter, click HERE.

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Emergency Shelter

Meet Todd – New LUM Shelter Director

Todd P. Wesbrook is the new program director for the LUM Emergency Shelter. He is responsible for the management of and intake process for the overnight emergency shelter and the Winter Warming Station (November – April) and oversees the New Opportunity Grants, a match program which offers financial assistance to shelter guests transitioning into their own home.

Todd grew up in Hillsboro, North Dakota and now lives in West Lafayette with his wife of 26 years, Linda. Todd and Linda have two cats, Faith & TT, and have been members of the White Horse Christian Center for 19 years, where Linda works as the assistant to the senior pastor. Todd earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mayville State University and a Master of Public Administration from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

Todd shares that he finds inspiration “when people do what is right, though there is no benefit to themselves. Because it is often against our human nature to do so.” Todd’s faith is important to him stating, “I make it a priority to demonstrate the love of Christ, making God my first priority followed by my relationship with my wife and others.” He also agrees with his pastor who has stated, “the only way you lose is if you quit.”

Todd enjoys running, biking and hanging out with his wife and close friends. He loves to laugh so also enjoys a good, clean comedy movie.

Todd is excited about his new role with Lafayette Urban Ministry because it gives him an opportunity to continue his work to help individuals and families get stronger within a Christian ministry. He stated that he “loves the LUM Mission Statement because it focuses on renewal and restoring hope. It is a great privilege and honor to get the opportunity to serve at such a wonderful organization.”

LUM is fortunate to have Todd Wesbrook join the LUM staff.

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Emergency Shelter