With more than 40 Whatcom County congregations of many faiths, we join together to shelter and serve the homeless, poor and vulnerable among us.
Congregations are the platform for putting faith into action. Learn more about some of our member congregations are making a difference every day. View Whatcom County congregations that are members of Interfaith Coalition.
There are several ways congregations can choose to be involved with the work of Interfaith.
Click + on name to read more; click – to condense.
Be the conduit between Interfaith and your congregation. As a Congregational representative, your role of engaging your fellow congregation members in Interfaith programs will be actively helping homeless families and others in the community, but not require you to spend hours of your free time. Click here to meet our current Congregational reps. Board members provide vital direction to Interfaith and ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the community and engages our member congregations in meaningful ways Click here to meet our current Board Members.
Congregations donate wonderful gifts for Interfaith’s biggest fundraiser, our annual spring auction. Some collect money to purchase a gift for the auction, while others tap into the skills and talents of members to create a special experience, such as a hosted gourmet meal. Chocolate baskets, travel, gardening items handyman services --- let your imagination soar!
Choirs from our member congregations come together in the early spring. This event features performances by several individual choirs, as well as two group performances. We enjoy participation by all congregations with musical groups, large or small. Please save the date for Sunday, February 11 at 3:30 pm for our next Interfaith Coalition Choir Fest to be held at First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham.
Gently-used winter coats, mittens, gloves and scarves are gathered by our congregations and delivered each fall to five locations around the county. Coat drives at congregations make possible the donation of over 3,000 coats and jackets.
Consider an ongoing donation to Interfaith and make a difference in the lives of so many people here. Some congregations add a line item to their annual budgets, while others plan a special collection or a fundraising event to help with our mission.
Each of our 11 units of housing for homeless families is freshly cleaned and re-stocked with basic supplies about every three months. Once a family leaves, volunteers ready the home for the next family, replacing essential household goods and helping families move into their own apartment if needed. Volunteers also help with maintenance on the units and occasional garden or outside area cleanup.
Congregations encourage their members to knit and crochet items to warm the heads hands and hearts of our neighbors in need. These are distributed during the Winter Coat Drive, at the Severe Weather Shelter and other community programs. Volunteers create the items, donate supplies and deliver to distribution points. New and warm heavy duty socks also are collected and much appreciated.
Our community reaches out to homeless families during the holiday season by delivering a little joy in the way of gifts. We work with many congregations who “adopt” a family and fulfill their gift requests.
Our emergency and transitional housing for families is equipped with TVs and DVD players, but no cable. Family-friendly DVD movies, children’s books, and games are placed in each home for relaxing together time.
Kids Need Books
New and gently-used children’s books are collected to hand out to low-income families each week through pop-up Food Bank distributions at two local elementary schools. KNB helps families in economically challenged and ethnically diverse areas build their home libraries and help children avoid the summer slump of learning during summer months. Since early summer 2016, KNB has handed out more than 10,000 books and, in the words of a local school volunteer, “has fundamentally changed the reading culture of our neighborhood.”
Because our program needs are often unpredictable, on-call volunteers are always appreciated. Skilled or unskilled help is welcome. Our housing program in particular needs people who can lend a hand with ongoing and periodic maintenance, such as painting or yard work. People with pick-up trucks (and strong backs!) to help move furniture and families in and out of our units are in demand! Our office operates with a very small staff, and we appreciate help with mailings, phone and other office functions. Please sign up for the on-call list.
Our C.A.S.T. (Coffee And Sandwiches Together) Program provides a simple meal of sandwiches, soup and coffee to homeless and low-income people four nights a week in downtown Bellingham. Volunteers come from many different faith communities. Our mission is service, conversation, food and sharing of our time. There are many opportunities for involvement — sandwich makers, servers and food buyers. Congregations can also participate in food collection for the program.
This one day, one-stop community event in the summer by local agencies coordinates immediate access to services for homeless individuals. Our congregations help collect personal care items, clothing, backpacks and sleeping bags, tents, tarps and other items to distribute at the event. This year’s event is Friday, July 21, 2017.