Category Archives: ID Clinic

LUM – A Game Changer for Many


March 2015



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Ann Pellegrino


Dear Friends,

Anne Pellegrino recently stopped by my office, smiling ear to ear!

Anne is a LUM volunteer tax preparer and she had just finished a tax return for a low-income family of four.  She was smiling because she just secured for them a $10,000 income tax refund for them!

“There is just no way to understate how much this refund is going to mean to this family,” she said.  “This is a real game changer for them.”

Anne and LUM’s many other dedicated tax volunteers, brought $4.5 million in refunds back to 1,390 low-income working families in our community last year.  Utility bills were paid.  Overdue rent was caught up.  Clothing was purchased for children.  Money was set aside for college.  Families were made more stable.

But the Tax Program is only one of the important ways that the Lafayette Urban Ministry is changing the game for working families and at-risk children during this time of year.

  • LUM’s new Legal Immigration Clinic is providing expert legal advice and support to individuals in our community who are having difficulty navigating the Federal Immigration and Naturalization Service bureaucracy.  We serve 10 new immigrant families each month.
  • LUM’s Enhanced Afterschool Program is helping to narrow the academic achievement gap each day for 50 low-income children.
  • LUM’s Overnight Shelter and Case Management Services literally save lives during these cold winter months when the weather is harsh.  More than 200 homeless individuals have stayed with us on and off since the beginning of the year.  Through case management services, we have helped many of them to leave our shelter for a home of their own.
  • LUM’s Good Samaritan Program serves each morning as our community’s social safety net.  Staff and volunteers help those facing eviction, utility disconnects and other financial hardships to remain safely in their homes.  We serve as many as 60 households each week.
  • Last year, LUM’s ID Clinic helped 166 individuals to cut through the government red tape associated with re-establishing their legal identity and securing a photo ID.

Each of the Lafayette Urban Ministry’s 15 programs is designed to strengthen low-income families or to support and educate at-risk children.  In partnership with 42 local church congregations, LUM helps to restore the hope and future that is all too often absent among those who live in poverty.

In other words, our work at LUM really is a game changer for those we serve.

That’s why I hope you will join me in making a generous gift to support LUM’s programs.

Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500 or $1,000 will support our efforts and make sure our doors are always open to those in our community who need us.

Anne Pellegrino, through her work as a LUM tax preparer, has a special vantage point from which she is able to see and understand the realities faced by the working poor in our community.  She knows that most are just a paycheck away from crisis.  And she knows how important LUM’s programs are to her client’s’ economic well-being.

But more importantly, because of LUM, Anne is able to share her talents and have a positive impact in the lives of others.  And that really makes her smile!

Please, won’t you make a generous gift today to the programs of the Lafayette Urban Ministry?

There are several ways you can give.  You can place your gift in the mail today.  Or you can visit our website at www.lumserve.org to learn more about our programs and to make your donation online.


Greetings,

PS   On behalf of all those whose lives will be touched by your generosity, please accept my sincere and heartfelt thanks.

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Filed under After School Program, Case Management, Giving, Good Samaritan Fund, Homeless Shelter, ID Clinic, Immigration Clinic, Income Tax Assistance, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Volunteer

Good Samaritan Fund – Everyday Miracles


 November 2014




Dear Friend,

Do you recall the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000? The disciples were overwhelmed, but Jesus took pity and showed compassion. He used what little was available – five loaves and two fishes, gave thanks to God and fed all 2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 010 (2)who were gathered.

I must admit, I spend much of my time at LUM feeling like Jesus’ disciples must have felt that day on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The need here is so great and our available resources are never enough.

In the past few days LUM has received requests to:

  • Pay the rent for a family because dad broke his foot and lost his job
  • Pay the water bill for a husband who is spending his limited resources for his wife’s chemotherapy
  • Pay the electric utility for an elderly couple whose social security checks are covering the costs of raising their granddaughter
  • Pay for the cost of food for the family of a dad who is on medical leave from work because of back surgery

Already this year, the Lafayette Urban Ministry’s Good Samaritan Fund has responded to these and 2,078 other requests just like them. When I look at the fund’s checkbook balance and compare it to the numbers of families we will be called upon to serve in the weeks and months ahead, I think to myself “there’s just no way.”

But then I remember you and the many others who so faithfully stand behind our work with both your prayers and your dollars. That generosity of spirit reminds me to celebrate the everyday miracles that are inherent in what you make possible here at LUM.

There is the miracle of how a seemingly small amount of money can accomplish so much good in the life of a neighbor who is living through a financial crisis.

There is the miracle of how seemingly unsolvable problems can be resolved for others through hard work, kindness, encouragement – and a little bit of cash.

There is the miracle that happens each time a Good Samaritan Fund check is given and an eviction is averted, a utility is NOT disconnected, or a hungry neighbor is given enough to eat.

2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 018 (2)LUM’s Good Samaritan Fund is the most important part of our community’s social safety net. Last year, $117,607 was shared.

I hope you will see the miracle of all that is accomplished by the Good Samaritan Fund and consider making a generous gift so that its important work can continue.

Your contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000, will allow the Good Samaritan Fund to be here, faithfully serving those with critical financial needs, both now and throughout the coming year.

The Good Samaritan Fund is unique. Not a single dollar of what you give is spent for administrative overhead. In other words, everything you contribute goes directly to feed someone who is hungry, shelter a family in need of housing, or respond to some other emergency crisis for a neighbor in need.

Through your generous support of the Good Samaritan Fund you show concern and compassion toward neighbors in need – and you share a faith that causes miracles to happen in the lives of others.

Jesus gave of the loaves and fishes until everyone was fed – and twelve baskets were left over.

Please, won’t you make a generous gift today in support of LUM’s Good Samaritan Fund?


Gratefully,
Joe Micon Signature
Joe Micon
Executive Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry


P.S. — You may contribute to the Good Samaritan Fund online at www.lumserve.org

Thank you.



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Filed under Giving, Good Samaritan Fund, ID Clinic, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Volunteer

Mary Anderson celebrates 20 Years with LUM


2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 003 (3)Twenty years ago this month, Rev. Carl Malmgren saw something special in Mary Anderson and recommended that she be offered the three-month, part-time position with LUM to coordinate Jubilee Christmas 1994. Malmgren was a member of the LUM Board of Directors and was the chair of the search committee for this position. Joe Micon, executive director, was pleased with Mary’s work with Jubilee Christmas and invited her back in the Spring of 1995 to be the co-director of LUM Camp – another three-month, part-time position. Opportunities like this continued for Mary and in the next few years she served as the Shelter Director, the director of the Summer Lunch program and the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry Director.

In 1998, Mary found her niche when she became the director of the LUM Advocate Program, now known as the LUM Good Samaritan Fund Program. During these early years, Mary was also the director of the Summer Lunch Program and Jubilee Christmas. The LUM Board of Directors demonstrated their confidence in Mary’s work and ability when they asked her to serve as the interim LUM executive director from 2004-2008 (during Joe Micon’s leave of absence to serve as the Indiana State Representative for the 26th District). This was an important time for LUM because they were beginning a capital campaign which would enable LUM to initiate new programs and move into a new office building.

During her tenure with LUM, moving was nothing new. In 1994, Mary started her work with LUM on 8th Street; she served as the director of the food pantry out of a storefront on Main Street; and in 1995 moved to 525 N 4th Street, a new building that would serve as the LUM emergency shelter, youth programs center, and administrative offices. Her final move was in 2010 to her current office in the new administrative building at 420 N 4th Street.2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 010 (2)

Today, Mary Anderson could not be more perfectly suited for her role at LUM. Mary directs one program which she founded and another which she has enhanced and modified over the years – the ID Clinic and the Good Samaritan Fund Program, respectively. Reflecting on her 20 years of service to the LUM clients and families, Mary is confounded by how much has changed as well as how many things have not.

Mary looks to two pivotal points in our country’s history as catalysts for change in her work with low income families: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the recent recession. After 9/11, our country implemented laws and practices that greatly affected the poor and the homeless. Caring for the “least of us” is no longer a priority in our nation – as it was during the Great Depression and again in the 1960’s – and it may never be again. We must accept this and continue to do the best we can within those parameters. This has made Mary a strong advocate for eliminating the Voter ID law – which makes it very difficult for the homeless and low-income individuals to obtain picture ID and to vote. She is proud that her deposition was included in the US Supreme Court case brought against the Indiana Voter ID law.


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Mary enjoys getting to know those she serves. It gives her joy and hope to work face-to-face with individuals looking for a little bit of assistance to get past a difficult time. These interactions sometimes also give her some sad moments – especially when she sees poverty passed from one generation to the next. Before this recent recession, Mary saw mostly individuals who were “generationally” poor or “gradually” poor. Recently though there have been more and more individuals who are “suddenly” poor and in need of assistance for the first time in their lives. Individuals who used to help others are suddenly asking for help. Upon reflection, Mary shares that she couldn’t do this work if there wasn’t a social justice component at LUM. She is hopeful and see better days in the future only if there is a focus on changing our laws and priorities to serve each and every one of our neighbors.


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Through all of this, Mary still feels like she has the greatest job around. She emphasizes that one must be realistic on how much one’s able to offer – and must find ways to keep your perspective. Mary proudly proclaims that she has a life outside of the walls of LUM – and engages in some meaningful activities with her church. She also gives her family much of the credit for keeping her grounded. Originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Mary met her husband while attending Purdue and has been here since. Today, Mary and Mike have three sons and four (of the world’s best) grandchildren.

Twenty years have flown by for Mary Anderson. But for this community, for LUM, for the families and individuals served by LUM – we are so much better off for Mary’s years of service – and her vision for what could be done at LUM which has served as a road map to a better future for all.

 



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Filed under Board of Directors, Good Samaritan Fund, Homeless Shelter, ID Clinic, Jubilee Christmas, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, LUM Camp, LUM Staff, St. John's/LUM Food Pantry, Uncategorized

Meet the LUM Interns — Rebekah Niedner

Meet the LUM Interns — Rebekah Niedner


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Rebekah Niedner is from Valparaiso  Indiana and is a student in the Graduate School of Social Work at Indiana University – Indianapolis pursuing a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Leadership. Rebekah has a BSW in Social Work and BA in Spanish from Indiana University – Bloomington.

As a LUM Intern, Rebekah is working as an advocate and counselor with the Good Samaritan Program, ID Clinic, and Case Management; and is assisting with the LUM Good Samaritan Fund Follies program. In addition to her studies at IU and internship with LUM, Rebekah works as a paraprofessional at a local public middle school.  Rebekah also enjoys staying in shape doing Zumba and cooking and eating healthy.

After graduation from IU in May 2014, Rebekah will be pursuing a career in social work. Rebekah someday wishes to be involved in community development working in a school environment educating students and families and collaborating with community agencies to develop strong individuals, strong families and a strong community.


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Filed under Case Management, Good Samaritan Fund, ID Clinic, Interns, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM

Mission Moment — The Story of Michael’s I.D.

When Mary Anderson, LUM’s Director of Assistance, met with a client during the LUM ID Clinic drop-in hours recently, she could not have predicted that a week later she would be facilitating a family reunion between the client and his estranged mother. We will call this client, Michael.

Like many in our community who are taking that first step in a long journey back on track, Michael hit a road block – he needed an official ID. Michael was recently released from prison after being incarcerated for more than eight years. He was released without an ID, without a job, and without a home. Michael made several poor choices in the past which led to his imprisonment as well as destroying his relationship with his mother.

Today Michael is focused on becoming self-sufficient. Unfortunately Michael soon realized that you simply cannot do much without an official ID. His dilemma is that he needs a birth certificate to get an ID; and needs an ID to get his own birth certificate. This process is complex and became more so post-9/11. Although he is NOT able to get his own birth certificate on his own, his mother may. This is what led Mary and Michael to have a conversation about re-connecting with his mother who lives right here in town. It appeared to be the only option for Michael so he mustered the courage to call her. Michael’s mother quickly agreed to help Michael get his birth certificate by filling out the application and having it sent to her home address.

Michael is doing everything he can to keep his life moving forward. This vital service at LUM is getting him one step closer to being successful. And hopefully Michael and his mom have now begun to reestablish a positive relationship as well.



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Filed under ID Clinic, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment