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Whatcom County assistance programs.

Many different charities, non-profits, and other local organization are available in Whatcom County. These groups offer a wide variety of assistance programs for paying rent, energy bills, offer free medical and health care, and other forms of assistance. Many of them receive funding from the United Way, which is based in Bellingham. Find information on all of your options below.

General help, limited financial assistance and counseling

Catholic Community Services NW can coordinates access to mental health and social service for children and families. These services are available to people with limited or no means or income. The programs can help people deal with a short term crisis, reduce dysfunction’s and enhance strengths and coping skills of patients. The churches are also involved in referring clients to housing or shelter programs and also operate a resale shop. (360) 676-2164. Read more Bellingham Catholic Charities.

Another non-profit is Opportunity Council. They have created programs and offer services that are key to increased self-sufficiency and creating positive change for the unemployed, low and fixed income people. Services offered by the agency include housing, rent assistance, food, shelter, prescriptions, childcare, Head Start, information and referral to other federal government and Washington programs.




The non-profit may also be able to help Whatcom County and Bellingham families apply for government grants for housing or rent needs. They also offer Early Support for Infants, school supplies, and more. A key focus of Opportunity Council is of ending poverty in the region. Call (360) 734-5121, or click here.

The Whatcom Salvation Army provides assistance to individuals and families in emergency situations and who are facing a short term crisis. Receive access to free food, clothing, cash grants for paying bills, and household items. There may also be support such as furniture, occasional limited rental, mortgage, heating or utility bill assistance. Seasonal programs in Bellingham include Christmas food and gifts; recreation: adult social/spiritual activities; disaster assistance; senior services and a youth camp program. Phone number (360) 733-1410, or more Whatcom County Salvation Army.





Volunteers of America (VOA) - The national charity provides help in Whatcom and Bellingham. While a focus is on housing, including homeless prevention, they also help with self-sufficiency, employment, and nutritional needs. Some of what may be available includes emergency financial aid for paying rent or utility bills and food. Learn about government grants for housing costs, gain access to permanent housing solutions, and assistance for seniors in the Whatcom area. There is also information on shelters, job training, and other programs for low income families. Click Volunteers of America Western Washington.

Whatcom County holiday programs - Organizations ranging from DSHS to the Salvation Army and churches offer free toys, gifts, and meals. A priority is on children as well as senior citizens that do not have other family in the area. Some agencies only offer referrals to Christmas assistance. Read more.

Bellingham and Whatcom County Love provides advice and referrals. The goal of the charity is to help people in poverty address the cause of it, such as excessive debt or lack of employment. They may have referrals to transitional housing, government grants and more. Address is 1998 Midway Lane, Bellingham, WA 98226, or call 360.671.6201.

Sacred Heart Church can provide emergency food or one time financial aid for security deposits, rent, or energy bills. There may also be clothing or gas vouchers for work reasons. Dial (360) 734-2850.

Saint Paul's Episcopal Church may, on occasion, have small amount of money for emergency expenses. There may be funds for rent or paying bills, local transportation, and other costs. Small boxes of food may also be offered in Whatcom County. Applicants need to walk in on Tuesday from 9-10 am to apply. Address is 2117 Walnut Street, Bellingham, WA, 98225.

Food assistance programs

Low income, unemployed, and other qualified individuals can get free groceries and other food aid. The Bellingham Food Bank distributes food directly to families and other distribution centers throughout Whatcom County Washington. (360) 676-0392




There are several other food pantries in the region. They will have everything from groceries to free Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas meals or gifts. Some even have clothing. More food pantries in Whatcom County.

Receive help with and access to child and day care

The Bellingham Childcare and Learning Center (phone number (360) 676-0950) partners with other non-profits to provide the highest standard and most affordable childcare. The day care programs are in place for low-to-moderate income families, and BCLC will assist them with becoming self-sufficient.

Health care centers

Interfaith Community Health Center is a free medical clinic that provides free, high quality primary health and medical care, dental care, behavioral health and prescription medication to the citizens of Whatcom County. Medical help is available for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay for the health care services. (360) 676-6177.

Children and mother can get access to health care from Mother Baby Center. The agency can be reached at (360) 647-1544. The center provides health care, general medical services and support services for pregnant and postpartum women. The results of the program and the clinic are fewer deaths and healthier babies in the community.



By Jon McNamara

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