Monthly News & Updates

April 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

From all of us here at Lydia Place, I hope this message finds you weathering this time with health and hope. I am personally reaching out to you today with a note of gratitude, and an urgent request. As our community continues to navigate these uncharted waters, we have been so grateful to our amazing neighbors who have reached out with messages of support and concern for those hardest hit. Thank you for your compassion and your commitment.

The latest local development from Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood, cancelling all in-person events through August, has us reeling a bit. We remain steadfast in our commitment to doing our part to support public health, and are simultaneously worried about the impact that cancelled events will have on our ability to meet the critical and growing needs of the families we serve. 

More and more families are in need of financial help, housing stability, and emotional support.   At Lydia Place we believe housing is a basic human right, and now more than ever the safety of shelter matters more and more to ensure a safe, healthy and thriving community.

If you are able,  I am asking you to consider joining our monthly giving program today and becoming a HOUSING HERO. For as little as $5 per month, your contribution helps Lydia Place continue to maintain housing stability, mental health services, and parenting support to hundreds of families who are being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within the last two weeks Lydia Place has provided over 200 emergency bed nights to families in need of long-term housing support. We are bracing ourselves for the inevitable increase in emergent needs as the financial impact of the pandemic continues to unfold.

Becoming a Housing Hero today helps us continue to be able to say “YES” to our neighbors in need of housing and support.  A family in crisis is an emergency we cannot turn away from. We are turning to you, to help us lean in as this urgency grows.

Together, we can minimize the long-term impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on families in our community.

With gratitude,
Tally Rabatin, Lydia Place Community Engagement Director

How the CARES Act Impacts Charitable Giving for 2020

New Deduction Available: Non-itemizer taxpayers can write off up to $300 ($600 for a married couple) in charitable cash contributions for 2020. This is available only to people who take the standard deduction, not for people who can itemize their deductions on Schedule A. It is an “above the line” deduction from income that will reduce a donor’s adjusted gross income (AGI), and thereby reduce taxable income.

This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results.

Lydia Place is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by the law.
E-event: Art for Housing
Friday, May 8th
Last year, Art for Housing raised over $15,000 helping Lydia Place continue to provide critical mental health services to families experiencing homelessness in Whatcom County. With the support of you and our community this January, Lydia Place's Mental Health Program expanded its services to include children and adolescents. And this year, we are asking you to do more. 

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, Art for Housing has morphed from an in-person silent art auction and live theatrical performance (We love and miss you  Sylvia Center   for the Arts!) with great food from  Bellingham Cider Co   . (Who is offering delicious takeout!) to a  30 minute live streaming program  followed by a fast and furious 90 minute silent art auction with supported bidding from Lydia Place staff and volunteers.  

The event program will highlight Lydia Place's Mental Health Program and feature takeaways for you to engage in May's Mental Health Awareness Month. Plus, bid on artwork by dozens of local artists such as  Ben Mann   Randy Van Beek   Sharon Kingston   Gretchen Leggitt   , and  Kevin Coleman   ... just to name a few. We have one-of-a-kind pieces to fit every style and budget!

This event is    FREE and open to ALL- but you must register!
Event: Handbags for Housing
Thursday, September 17th
Barkley Village Green

Mark your calendar for Bellingham’s largest handbag exchange and fashion show extravaganza- Handbags for Housing! This year we're bringing back all your favorites, but with a cherry on top! We'll be serving up sweet handbag deals and sweet treats while you shop from over 500+ handbags from our epic handbag bazaar and live + silent auctions. Additional activities include a beauty bar, cocktail and wine vendors, along with local boutiques and retailers all coming together under one roof, to showcase the sheer power of local fashion and philanthropy.

All event proceeds benefit Lydia Place so, grab your besties and treat yourself to a new bag, specialty cocktails, appetizers, and a mini beauty treatment because you've earned it!
Community Cares features individuals and businesses who coordinated a drive and/or donated 100% of proceeds in order to fulfill an immediate Lydia Place need.
Community Cares: Mount Baker Foundation

A HUGE thank you to the Mount Baker Foundation for their generous support of Heart House AND for prioritizing emergency COVID-19 funding that goes beyond the normal scope and role of the foundation. Lydia Place is honored and privileged to be a steward of the Mount Baker Foundation's vision of individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities becoming stronger, healthier, more resilient and more compassionate, generation after generation. To read more click here.
Community Cares: Whatcom Community Foundation

Thank you to the Whatcom Community Foundation and it's contributors for swiftly providing crisis response funding to several organizations in our community. Your support is vital to helping our community remain strong, prepared, and resilient through this difficult time.
Community Cares: CTK Funds Craft Kits for PSP Families

Thank you to CTK for providing funding so that our Parent Support Program (PSP) could purchase these awesome art kits from Gabriel's Art Kids! These kits will provide countless hours of learning, creativity, and exploration to children and their families enrolled in our PSP program. To learn more about our Parent Support Program click here.
It’s National Volunteer Month and we would like to take a moment to recognize the enormous impact our volunteers make for the families we serve in the community. They commit their time, talents, and hearts to making our community a better place.

Did you know the value of volunteer time in Washington state is $25.43 per hour?

With almost 13,000 hours selflessly contributed by our volunteers in 2019, that equates to a value over $300k worth of support provided by Lydia Place and Wise Buys volunteers!

I n celebration and thanks to the amazing acts of service our volunteers have contributed we would like to spend the next few months shining a light on some of the amazing humans supporting our programs, services, and fundraisers.

First up we want to celebrate...
Lydia Place Volunteer: Cody C.
Cody moved to Whatcom County in January of 2019 and began volunteering his time with Lydia Place as an Admin and Event Volunteer in 2019.
Q: How did you first get involved with Lydia Place?
When I first moved here, I was looking for ways to get involved in the community in a volunteer capacity. I’m a Psychology major at WWU, and the Psychology department actually has a page on their website dedicated to volunteer opportunities in the area, as well as sending out frequent notifications of specific events and volunteer needs. I found Lydia Place on that page, and when I looked into the work they do I fell in love with their mission. I contacted Rita Thames and started helping with 2019’s Handbags for Housing event, and the rest is history!
What are some of the opportunities you've volunteered for with LP?
I’ve had the chance to work in a variety of roles with Lydia Place. I’ve helped with crafting and set-up for events, and been on the registration team for Handbags for Housing and Hearts for Housing. I had the opportunity to help put together Thanksgiving cookbooks and coloring pages, and to collect and sort donations of Christmas gifts for Adopt-a-Family. Sometimes I also get to help with administrative work between events, such as data entry and organization.
Why do you choose to volunteer with LP?
The work that Lydia Place does is very close to my heart. When I was growing up, my family fell on some hard times, and we definitely could’ve benefitted from the services and hope that Lydia Place works so hard and so generously to provide. I know first-hand how much it means to have someone who cares enough to help when things are hard and it means even more when it’s a community effort. It makes the darkness seem less scary, and the light at the end of the tunnel seem brighter, closer, and more accessible. I especially appreciate the love that Lydia Place shows towards children, because I love working with kids and know from work experience, personal experience, and my studies at Western that the care, attention, and support that Lydia Place is giving to these kids can make all the difference from a developmental standpoint as they continue to grow. The work done at Lydia Place means so much to me in so many respects, and it’s an honor to be a part of their team.
Is there anything you’d like to tell someone considering volunteering for the first time with Lydia Place?
Go for it! I promise, you won’t regret it. The team is very good at finding a place for everyone and helping their strengths shine through, and I promise there’s a perfect volunteer opportunity here that will feel like it was tailor-made just for you. The feeling of community and family at Lydia Place is so inspiring and genuine, and whether you’re behind the scenes or on the front lines, the light you’re helping to bring into the world is contagious and will spread to other parts of your life, until you and everyone around you is filled with a sense of joy, hope, and love.
A note from Rita Thames,
Lydia Place Community Engagement Coordinator
Even during this challenging time as we shelter at home, we can still feel the strength of our community around us as we continue to receive emails and phones calls asking, “How can we help?” While this year will undoubtedly look different and volunteerism will look different, we are adapting, and we are taking our cues from each other, and we are listening to the needs of those around us. 

We encourage our community to help in the ways their physical and mental health allows by reaching out to neighbors, running errands for someone at risk, donating, volunteering online, supporting local businesses, and by offering and attending virtual meetings, classes, and fundraisers. Volunteering for Lydia Place is volunteering for our community as a whole and we only hope to continue to work with you to ensure that our community is one where every family has a home and an opportunity to thrive . A big thank you to the volunteers who participated in our April Volunteer Appreciation Month survey. We look forward to sharing more stories with you in the following months.

Warm regards,
Rita Thames
Interested in volunteering or staying informed on how you can help? Join our volunteer e-newsletter list by sending a message to Rita at
Featured Partnership: PSE a Powerful Partnership

Payment options when you need them most.

As a provider of an essential service to their customers, PSE is working to ensure they are there for their customers, the community and their employees as the coronavirus impacts our region.
Some of PSE’s business and residential customers might be worried about paying their bills. Just as they did during the federal government shutdown in 2018, PSE can work with you on a payment option plan or allow you to choose a bill date to help you through this difficult time. PSE will not be disconnecting customers for non-payment during this time.
To learn more about billing and payment options, visit:
Featured Partnership: Donate to Charity

Buying a new car? Getting rid of an old one? Selling isn’t your only option. We’ve teamed up with Donate for Charity to make donating your vehicle easy. It’s a win for all: you get a minimum $500 tax deduction (or higher, depending on what your car sells for), and Lydia Place receives the net proceeds to support our program.

By donating your car, you’ll avoid the headache of selling a used vehicle. Whether the vehicle is running or not, Donate For Charity can help process the donation. You can either click on the link provided here , or call Donate For Charity directly at (866) 392-4483. Thank you for your support!

Heart House- Coming Soon to Lydia Place!

Whatcom County faces two distinct crises significantly impacting families with young children. The first is a housing affordability and availability crisis, with vacancy rates hovering around 1.5% for multiple years running and rental rates...

Read more
Homeless Families Face High Hurdles Home-Schooling Their ...

subscribe to Coronavirus Daily podcast Eight-year-old Mariana Aceves is doing her math homework - subtraction by counting backward - while sitting on the bed she shares with her mom, Lorena Aceves. They're sitting on the bed because they have...

Read more
Attention Lydia Place Housing Heroes Monthly Contributors

You may update or change your credit card details via our Financial Manager, Judy Wayt at 360.671.7663 ext 2003 or by filling out a new online donation form with your new credit card information here.

Matthew Barrow, David Beaumier, Drew Betz, Michael & Mary Brunt, Karen & Richard Clark, Jennifer Cool, Sue Ann Croft, Shannon Day, Pamela E. Englett, Graham Essex, Steve Forbes, Audrey E. Gravley, Alycia Hawkins, Lisa Heezen, Amy Johnson, Ann Lackland, Tom Laughlin, Sonja Lee, Megan McGinty, Dustin McKissen, Kathleen McQuaide, Patti Morgan, Marilyn Moullen, Shenandoah Myrick, Nina Nancarrow, Deborah Parker, Kristen Parsons, Melanie Pysden, Kari Severns, Karla Slusher, Jillene Snell, Ashley Snyder, Pete Stelling, Sterling Rentals 1 LLC, Ryan Thramer, Jeffery Y. Tom, Shawna Unger, Elizabeth Walukas

Thank you the following collectives who gave a one-time gift this month!
Anonymous, Judy M. Bell, BP Foundation, Charles Brown, Christ the King Church, David & Mary Lynne Courtney, David & Judith Culver, Elsebet Lund Dahlberg, Mary Jane DelaHunt, Chris Elder, Fidelity Charitable, Arla Fowler, Jason Friend, Kate Galambos, Good Works Fund, Alex Gorman, Keith & Anne Gouiller-Moore, Lucy Greeley, Heather & Garrett Leque, Bruce McHale, Christopher Moench, Michele Morrissey, MTE Fund, Network for Good, Susan & Jeff Palmer, Virginia L. Pharis, Samuel A Rowswell, RoseMarie Slay, Mark Smith, Delores Starcher, Katie Swanson, Nicole Weber, Myron & Paula Wlaznak, Medina Foundation, Pat Karlberg Lost Money Scholarship Foundation
Lydia Place is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by the law.