Extend-a-Hand donations allow local organizations to make big differences in small ways for Whatcom County residents who need immediate help with housing and health care all year long. Unity Care NW uses Extend-a-Hand funds for prescription costs, vaccinations and other health-related items, while the Opportunity Council, which administers the fund, helps families avoid eviction. Bellingham Herald readers gave $73,629 last year to help. The need continues to be great as inflation and other increasing costs have hit these organizations’ clients especially hard. “Extend-a-Hand is critical for us to help families with what they need most, whether that’s move-in assistance, diapers, or transportation,” said Katie Rose, Opportunity Council’s fund development manager. “This funding ensures the most immediate needs of families in our programs are met.”

The Herald, which has raised funds during the holidays for more than four decades, covers administrative costs up to $50,000 in donations, so gifts directly support people. Donations are tax-deductible, and donors through Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, will be recognized in The Herald. You can mail donation checks to Extend-a-Hand, c/o Opportunity Council, P.O. Box 2134, Bellingham, WA 98227. We welcome donations from individuals, families, clubs and businesses. Donations are also accepted online via credit card or PayPal, or by contacting Katie Rose at 360-734-5121, ext. 1332, or katie_rose@nulloppco.org.


Extend-a-Hand donations were used in 2022 to help the Opportunity Council make sure more than 200 households had roofs over their heads. The households included:

▪ Families with children who were living outside or in their vehicle until Extend-A-Hand made it possible for them to stay in a motel. With a safe place to stay, housing experts from Opportunity Council then helped them find a permanent home. Extend-a-Hand also makes sure these families have basics like diapers and other baby supplies, food and clothing.

▪ Other people and families experiencing homelessness who Extend-A-Hand helped overcome the hidden barriers that can get in the way of leaving homelessness behind. This includes helping with move-in costs, rental application fees and even transportation costs so that people can get to work and important appointments that allow them to move into their homes.

At Unity Care NW, Extend-a-Hand helped fill 2,148 prescriptions for 930 uninsured or underinsured patients.

“This includes helping cover high patient co-pays that can be $100 or more or for prescription medications insurance may not cover for things like blood pressure, mental health or dental care,” Rose said.

See the Bellingham Herald article announcing Extend-a-Hand’s return.