$50,000 gift from Humphreys family will support Lafayette House shelter

Lafayette House on Friday received a $50,000 gift from Debra and David Humphreys, of Joplin. Pictured, from left to right, are executive director Alison Malinowski Sunday, board member Debi Koelkebeck, Debra Humphreys, and board members Pam Roychaudhury, Jessica Schaer and Jill Overman. Globe | Emily Younker

A $50,000 gift given to Lafayette House on Friday will help support the nonprofit organization's shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Debra and David Humphreys, of Joplin, said during a check presentation at the shelter, 1809 Connor Ave., that they want their gift to help Lafayette House continue to offer "safety, support and hope" to local families facing domestic violence. David Humphreys is president of TAMKO Building Products; Debra Humphreys leads philanthropic efforts for the family.

"We are so grateful and deeply appreciative of what you do here," Debra Humphreys told Lafayette House staff. "We're doing this because we want to bring attention to what you do ... and help your mission."

The gift will be used to fund operational expenses of Lafayette House's shelter for domestic violence victims. Last year, more than 1,300 adults and children sought crisis services through the organization, receiving safe shelter, meals, transportation, child care, counseling, case management and advocacy.

Financial support from donors is critical to Lafayette House's ability to fulfill its mission, said Louise Secker, development director. The organization relies on a mix of funding, including grants that often are earmarked for specific programming or services, she said.

"But sometimes where we struggle is the basic expenses of providing shelter, food and utilities" for up to 35 people each day, she said, and that's what the Humphreys family's gift will go toward.

Lafayette House was founded 40 years ago and has survived in the Joplin community because of its supporters, a wide variety of people including its board of directors, volunteers, emergency advocates and staff members, said Alison Malinowski Sunday, executive director.

"This program does not exist without a strong community," she said.

The Lafayette House also is gearing up to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, Secker said. It will again host a traveling exhibit, to be displayed in public spaces throughout the month, that features clients' stories on silhouette cutouts.

In addition, a group of local yoga instructors will hold a drop-in yoga session from which participants' donations will benefit Lafayette House. And the organization will partner with City Pointe Beauty Academy in Webb City to train employees how to recognize signs of domestic abuse in customers, Secker said.

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Emily Younker is the managing editor at the Joplin Globe. Contact: eyounker AT joplinglobe DOT com.