Your End of Year News and Highlights from Lydia Place


Dear Neighbor,

When I was a child we could occasionally afford to fly to Long Island, New York, where my mother grew up, to visit her side of the family. These were always treasured trips. The first one I remember was when I was 5 years old. The holiday season was in full bloom, and it was bitterly cold. I remember the excitement of getting dressed up to go into “the city” for a special treat, though I don’t remember what it was. 
What I do remember was that Manhattan was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was huge, and loud, and the buildings and streets were otherworldly. I returned to my grandparents’ house that night with a changed view of the world, but not because of the magic of the city. Early in the evening, as we navigated the streets, we encountered a man, bundled in ragged clothes, and pleading those who passed him for spare change. I tugged desperately at my mother and asked for money to give him. We didn't have much but of course she gave me what she had, and I gave it to the man. And then I cried. I didn’t understand how a person could live on the street, but most confusing was that I was surrounded by so many grown-ups, and no one was fixing it. My mother, with her infinite compassion, tried to explain the problems and complexities of the world to me, but somehow, I felt betrayed, and my understanding of the world shifted.  

Fast forward 33 years. I am a mother now, with three young children of my own. I've been working on housing in Whatcom County since my first child was just months old. She will be 11 in February. My littlest is 3, and on a recent outing to downtown Bellingham, walking down a sidewalk at mid-day, we navigated around a person, sleeping in a doorway. I saw little Finnley taking in the sight - a person, a sleeping bag, concrete - and my heart broke. As you might imagine, we talk about housing and inequality a lot in our house. We talk about the visible nature of our community struggles, and failures, from the disaster of our inadequate mental health system, to the consequences of racial and economic segregation of our neighborhoods, to the legacy of colonization of these indigenous lands. But those are big words, and Finnley is 3. In that moment, as we walked around a sleeping human, wrapped in a ragged sleeping bag, I thought back to the moment in NY City as a five-year old, and I wondered, what will her brain do with this blatant acceptance and disregard for the obvious suffering happening right in front of her mother. It’s been a couple months now since that moment, but I haven't been able to shake its heaviness from my heart.

As we enter another winter season and the pandemic continues to fuel hardship, I find myself wondering, do we even see people anymore? I wonder at the mystery of keeping our hearts tender and nestled in the outrage of injustice while needing to go on with life. I wonder what that struggle means for us, for our community, and for the beautiful humans around us who are left vulnerable as they struggle to survive.  

I want to live in a Whatcom County where our hearts stay tender, and I want that tenderness to inspire us to act. In fact, if we are going to shift things so EVERY CHILD has an opportunity to thrive, then there is a role each of us must play. As Lydia Place continues to adapt in response to the growing need, I ask you to stay with us, join us, learn with us. As we settle into this season of darkness, I draw my hope from knowing that you share our vision of what this community can be, for all the families who live here, for EVERY CHILD. Lydia Place will continue to advocate and adapt to the growing needs of our community. We won’t give up on the children and families who need us most. And I know you won’t either.
With gratitude,
Lydia Place is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by the law. Scroll to the bottom of this email to learn how The CARES Act impacts your 2021 charitable giving.
2021 End of Year Newsletter

It's here! This year's End of Year Newsletter showcases the impact you've made through your support and provides an inside look into the challenges facing families in Whatcom County.

Full of stories, statistics, and even interactive activities, we're confident you'll learn something new, have your heart touched, and be inspired.

Together, we are creating possibilities!
Each of these incredible individuals, companies, and collectives went above and beyond to ensure that homeless parents, children, and individuals in Whatcom County received the care, support, and housing they needed to take the next steps towards independence and achieve their goals for themselves and their families.
Become a Housing Hero with a Monthly Gift!
Recurring gifts from Housing Heroes play a huge role in our ability to keep saying “yes” to families in crisis.

This monthly support enabled Lydia Place to provide 6,486 Emergency Bed Nights between July 2020 and June 2021, a dramatic increase from 2,854 in the prior year.

This December, would you consider becoming a Housing Hero by committing to a monthly gift?
Thank you to the following Housing Heroes for committing to the work of Lydia Place by helping us end family homelessness with a monthly gift!*
Anonymous, Sampson Greig Alvarado, Joyce M Anderson, Mary & Jeff Anderson, Butch & Linda Arnold, Calvin R Atkins, Jeanne Baker, Matthew & Stephanie Barrow, Samantha Beardslee, David James Beaumier, Judy Bell, Wayne Bell, Spencer Berger, Drew & Michael Betz, Heather Blevons, Katy Bonello, Brianna Brumbaugh, Michael & Mary Jane Brunt, Rachel Lucy Cecka, Lisa Cerezo, Lisa N Chovil, Theresa Anne Christiani, Karen & Richard Clark, Jennifer Cool, Mychel LeRae Cortese, Susan Costanzo, Monica Craig, Sue Croft, Jayme & David Curley, Shannon & Peter Day, Ana Luisa Dias, Cayla Dickens, Carey Ditton, Michelle Dohm, Janet Driscoll, Gina Ebbeling, Danielle Elder, Kacia Emley, Graham Essex, Dixie Farthing, Pamela J Felke, Jaime Alison Friedrich, Rachel Garcia, Kaitlyn Gerard, Deanna Marie Ginter, Jaylin Lee Godwin, Audrey Gravley & Bill McGinnis, Mindy & Alex Gravley, Stephanie C Hadley, Greer W Hastings, Alycia Hawkins, Meredith Hayes, Roxanna Hayes, Lisa Heezen, Katie Herling, Cassie Hernandez, Shelley Higgins, Afsheen Ali, Karyl Jefferson, Alivia Jelinski, Jennifer M Johns, Amy Johnson, Hank Kastner, Misty Kemp, Bill Kern & Kay Caylor, Barbara S Kleine, Heather Dawn Lange, Tom Laughlin, Dru Lee, Sonja Lee, Matt Lesinski, Rebecca Taryn Lewis, Sarah Lewis, Kayla C Litton, Hanna Loeffler, Abby Lollar, Nancy A Long, Rebecca Ludwig, Erin Lynch, Lynda Hinton Real Estate Inc, Hilary Marsee, Katherine McDade, Kate McDonald, Megan C McGinty, Kathleen McQuaide, Heather Michel, Patti K Morgan, Marilyn Moullen, Joan Moye, Samantha Murry, Shenandoah Myrick, Sarah Nuanes, Talia R Nuckolls, Tammie O'Dell, Jason & Amber Oldham, Laura Ann Owens, Erin Page, Tansy Peterson, Janne K Potter, Melanie S Pysden, Misty Kaye Rainwater, Beth Randall, Natalie Ransom & Ryan Wimberly, Steffany Raynes, Linda Read, Adam & Kathryn Resnick, Rice Insurance, Laura Rink, Kate Robertson, Anna Rodriguez, Kathy & Marcus Rowe-Guthrie, Lyn Salazar, Suzannah & Tyler Schroeder, Allison Sculthorp, Emily Olena Sharpe, Susie Simerl, Gail A Smith, Jaretta Smith, Kathleen Smith, Jillene Snell, Kelly Spencer, Sue Staley, Delores Starcher, Sterling Rentals, LLC, Lacey Stewart, Patricia McGuire Stigliani, Chara Stuart, Trisha Symonds, Ryan Thramer, Pepper Tipton, Wylder Tipton, Jeffery Tom, Bruce Underwood, Shawna Unger, Jamie Valenta, Yvonne Vaughn, Trent John Vigor, Ruby Volker, Elizabeth Walukas, Terell Weg, Adrienne Wrightson, Tonya Yoder

*This list includes monthly contributors as of November 30th, 2020. If you joined after your name will appear in our January 2021 monthly e-newsletter.
This year was extremely challenging for many, particularly those experiencing housing insecurity, but our community has continued to rise to the challenge with incredible generosity. Here are just a few highlights from November and December we wanted to share with you.
Rain boots for everyone!

For the 5th year in a row, the Wear A Big Smile Foundation donated hundreds of pairs of boots for Lydia Place families!

We at Lydia Place want to give a HUGE thank you to this amazing local business that gives our families a reason to wear a big smile even during the rainy season!

Thank you Washington Shoe Company & Wear A Big Smile Foundation! 
Thanksgiving Meals

We want to thank Haggen and Hempler's for once again providing Thanksgiving meals for our Lydia Place families!

Thanks to their generosity, each family received a Hempler's ham, a Haggen gift card, a set of bamboo utensils and a Thanksgiving recipe & activity book! We were even able to provide meals for the families we serve in partnership with DVSAS!
Adopt a Family Holiday Program

Your generosity fulfilled the holiday wish lists of 339 children in 160 families this year!

Our deepest gratitude to each of the over 112 individuals, business partners, and volunteers, who made this program possible. Each and every family in our program was adopted this year!

Special thank you to our 2021 Adopt A Family Business Partners: Barkley Village & the Talbot Group, Fred Meyer, the Whatcom Family YMCA, and Yeagers' Toyland.
“We are so grateful for this program. We usually don’t have much around Christmas and having someone reach out like this to help is amazing! I hope that the people that adopt families are extra blessed and I also hope that one day we can be the ones to help someone out.”
- Lydia Place client and 2021 Adopt a Family recipient
If you missed the chance to adopt a family but would still like to spread holiday cheer, head to our online gift registry sponsored by Misha Collins and Shoshannah Stern!
Last but not least, thank you to the following businesses and organization that showered our Lydia Place staff and volunteers with extra love this season! We felt your love and are grateful for your encouragement and support!

Thank you to Christ the King Community Church, Waffles in Paradise, Trader Joes, Coast Salish Coffee, Slice of Heaven, and Ragfinery.
Thank you the following neighbors who gave a one-time gift!
Anonymous, Samantha Alexander, Kristine & Blake Allen, Robert Bacon, Nena Barnhart, Linda Lee Berg, Ann-Marie Bowen, Heather Brown, Matt Bryant, Meghan Carrigan, Barbara A Cheatham, Donna Coleman, Chase Emmett Conway, Tim & Kathy Dugan, Jan Dunwoody & Paul Vanderveen, Brian Estes, Family Care Network, Susan A Ford, Jessica N Gardner, Lynn & David Gill, Christine R Hansen, Alycia Hawkins, Andrew Hay, Angela Huxtable, Steve James, Debra Jones, Dennis A Kaiser, Kroger-Fred Meyer Fund, Kulshan Brewing Co, Laurel & Thomas Kunesh, Kathryn & Wayne Langei, Katie Lechner, Heather & Garrett Leque, Michael Levine, Judith & Dennis Lewis, Lombardi's, Samya Lutz, Greg & Barb Lykke, Marketime Foods, Inc, Andrew M Miller, Justin Morgan, Henry Muska, Dawn Oehlerich, Elizabeth Otwell, Fallon Parker-Mckinney, Peoples Bank, Perigee Fund, Kathryn A Piscitello, Cynthia & John Purdy, Bruce Radtke, Lisa D Richardson, Thomas & Junko Roehl, Safeco Insurance Fund, Jessica Schoonmaker, Suzannah & Tyler Schroeder, Seattle Foundation, Seeking Health LLC, RoseMarie Slay, Elizabeth Snyder, Jan Stamey, Diane Staves, Jim & Peggy Stewart, The Filling Station, Ryan Thramer, VECA Electric & Technologies, Patricia Volk, Allison Vrbova, Whatcom Events, Shelly K Williams, Kable Wilmoth, Whatcom Community Foundation Funds: Steve & Karen Swan Family Fund, Zielstra Fund, Women of Hope Lutheran Church
*This list includes monthly contributors between October 1st and November 30th. If you made a one-time contribution after November 30th, your name will appear in our next monthly newsletter.
Save the date to join us March 26th at our Hearts for Housing event!

Lydia Place invites you to our annual Hearts for Housing Gala and Auction on Saturday, March 26th, 2022. (Tickets will go on sale January 2022)
This year's theme is Mission Possible, and we need your support to help ensure hundreds of children and their families experiencing homelessness have access to safe, stable, and secure housing and services.

Now more than ever, your participation matters! 
Choose to accept this mission, become an agent of change, and join us in our vision of a compassionate community where every human has a home and the opportunity to thrive.
Want to get started now? We are on the look-out for donated services, items, experiences, local getaways, and/or gift cards that can be used in our silent auction. 
Heart House Update
We can not wait for Heart House to open in Spring of 2022!

As construction draws closer to completion, stay tuned for ways you can can help Heart House become move-in ready!

The Lydia Place team is expanding!

We are seeking driven individuals to join our mission. We are in recruitment for a variety of positions.

To continue social distancing practices, we've established new hiring procedures to ensure future applicants and our team stay safe and healthy during the application process.

Lydia Place will be closed Thursday, December 23rd and Friday, December 24th for the holidays. We will resume normal business hours at 9 am on Monday, December 27th.

Our offices will also be closed on December 31st in observance of the new year.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours,
Lydia Place

How the CARES Act Impacts Charitable Giving for 2021

New Deduction Available: Non-itemizer taxpayers can write off up to $300 per tax return (up to $600 for married couples filing jointly) in charitable cash contributions for 2021. 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.