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Every Home Is A Strong Foundation

front-with-hfh-sign-croppedIt was a beautiful day out in Sumas on Sunday as we gathered to welcome the Gutierrez family home. Executive Director John Moon opened the celebration with a reminder of the ripple effect that occurs each time another family is housed – their mortgage payments (made to Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County) create an income stream that helps make more homes possible for more families. In this way, the Gutierrez home is both a strong foundation for the family and a strong foundation on which we continue to build.

A Strong Foundation for One Family …

gutierrez-ribbon-cuttingEvery parent wants a better future for their family. Every child deserves to live in stability. As young Salvadore cut the ribbon on the home his family rehabilitated with Habitat, that better future and that stability came sharply into focus for all of us in attendance. It was a symbolic moment that embodied not just the work done to get to this point, but all of the work now possible beyond it. With a decent place to live and an affordable mortgage, the Gutierrez family can save more, invest in education, pursue opportunity, and have more financial stability.

… Is a Strong Foundation for Many Families

As we look ahead to more builds – including Telegraph Townhomes, the 24 home project slated for groundbreaking in 2017 – we do so from the vantage point of other, completed builds. Builds like this one, which will help to fund future projects. And the hand up multiplies, raising more people out of poverty and into stable, independent lives. Will you help to fortify this strong foundation by giving today?

Welcome Home, Gutierrez Family

On Friday, September 9th, the Gutierrez family’s home closed, becoming the 4th complete house rehabilitation we’ve performed. And what a change! Just look at a few before and after photos …

Before:

before

before3

After:

after2

after3

Remarkable! The Gutierrez family has put in hundreds of hours of work to make their dream of home ownership a reality and we feel privileged to have partnered with these dedicated folks.

Join Us for the Dedication

This Sunday, September 18th, we’ll meet at 211 Front Street in Sumas at 4PM for a home dedication ceremony. All those with well wishes for the Gutierrez family are welcome. A home dedication is a moving, celebratory time to congratulate the family as well as to thank the many volunteers and donors who have helped bring about a permanent housing solution to yet another struggling family. We’d love to see you there!

Habitat Happenings

img_0443Janet and Fred – our Volunteer Coordinator and our Resource Development Manager – had a lovely time visiting with the enthusiastic employees at WorldMark Blaine resort and WorldMark Birch Bay resort today. Resort staff is eager to volunteer as a group on some of our projects and we’re thrilled to have them! Is your company interested in having Janet and Fred out to present to your staff? Email us at volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org or call 360.715.9170 to schedule a visit.

Costa Rica Q&A

Team Leader Sarah Bond-Yancey thumbnailWith recruitment for our Costa Rica build trip in full swing, we thought it’d be a good idea to hold an informational Q&A Session for those who are interested but have questions or concerns. Our highly experienced Trip Leader, Sarah Bond-Yancey, will be on hand to give you all the details you need. If you’re considering the Costa Rica trip, plan to attend this hour-long session on Thursday, September 8th from 6-7PM at the Community Food Co-op Bakery Café (405 E. Holly St. in Downtown Bellingham).

Work for Habitat

img_0441There are some rather large shoes to fill in our office, friends. Our dear friend and co-worker, Becca Bell, passed away and left a vacancy that will require a special person (or persons) to fill. Do you know a talented Office Manager/Bookkeeper who’s looking for a new professional home? Please pass our interest along. (See the job listing on Craigslist.)

Build Trip to Costa Rica

Day 2Our Costa Rica trip is all mapped out. We have firm dates, cost, and an itinerary. Now all we need is YOU! Check out the details on our Costa Rica 2017 page and consider attending our informational Q&A session with Team Leader Sarah Bond-Yancey. Sarah has extensive experience leading international build trips and looks forward to answering any questions you may have.

  • What: Costa Rica Q&A Session
  • When: September 8th, 6-7pm
  • Where: Community Food Co-op Bakery Café (see map)

Some good news to kick off recruiting …

The trip cost is lower than we originally thought it would be. On August 10th we told you $1900 plus airfare per person but we’re happy to be able to amend that number to $1725 plus airfare per person. An auspicious start? We think so!

Find this event on Facebook. We hope to see you there!

Greetings, Friends

Today we received the very sad news that our Office Manager and Bookkeeper, Becca Bell, passed away from a very short and unexpected illness.

Becca’s was not the loudest voice at staff meetings but it was one of the most influential in helping shape decisions about knotty problems. She was a quiet but powerful force. Her commitment to Habitat, to common sense, and to her unerring compass always helped us decide on what was the right thing to do. Becca remembered everyone’s birthday and employment anniversary and made sure we celebrated in the most caring way. Whether your favorite treat was Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or locally sourced, organic vegetables, she had you covered on your special day.

For the last five years we have come to take excellence in our accounting and internal controls for granted. No one could have done a better job.

She will be missed, not only as a co-worker, but as a decent human being whose ethics and compassion we should all emulate.

Our condolences and deepest sympathy goes out to all who knew her. We were the blessed ones to be in her presence and now feel the emptiness of her leaving this world.

God bless, Becca!

The Fence the Gutierrez Family Built

Gutierrez fenceWe’re almost there! The Gutierrez family built their fence this past Saturday under Construction Project Manager Paul Stromdahl’s supervision. There was a fence in place, but it was in such substandard condition that we had to replace it. “It was pretty horrible,” says Stromdahl. But the new fence, as you can see, is sturdy and ready for duty!

What’s Left to Do?

Gutierrez fence 2Stromdahl’s leading a work party this Saturday, August 27th and is planning to tackle the following:

  • Installing bifold doors
  • Putting up towel bars
  • Installing door knobs, cabinet knobs, and drawer pulls
  • Starting on the shed

Want to help? Work starts at 9am (plan to get to Sumas by 8:30 – 8:45 for instructions from Stromdahl), breaks for lunch around Noon, and continues on until 4pm. Bring a sack lunch and wear comfortable clothes/footwear that covers your whole foot (no sandals or open-toed shoes). Call Janet at 360.715.9170 or email volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org if you’re planning on coming out. It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend for building!

A Good Day for Golf and Giving

IMG_0092We had a great time at Whatcom County Association of Realtors‘ (WCAR) annual golf tournament! Each year, WCAR hosts a tournament at one of Bellingham’s beautiful courses to benefit a local non-profit organization. It’s a lot of work and we’re grateful that WCAR chose to make Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County the beneficiary of that work this year.

A Good Day for Golf

Janet, our Volunteer Coordinator, and Fred, our Resource Development Manager, spent the afternoon at hole #3, enjoying the sun and meeting the golfers as they passed through. The competitors were in good spirits and everyone seemed to have fun.

IMG_0089A Good Day for Giving

All said, about 75 golfers showed up to play. In doing so, each one gave of their time and their pocketbooks to help build safe, decent, affordable shelter for Whatcom County residents. We got to do a little giving of our own with a couple of drawings for $25.00 gift certificates to the Habitat Store. We notified the winners yesterday and hope they’ll find something they love on our sales floor.

Thank you to WCAR and to every golfer who came out for the tournament … we’re so grateful!

Looking Ahead: Costa Rica Trip

GVWe’re in the preliminary stages of planning an international build trip! Soon we’ll be putting together a team of up to 13 volunteers who will travel to Costa Rica in mid-March, 2017 to build decent, affordable shelter alongside members of the local community. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County has long been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity Costa Rica through our tithe program and we’re looking forward to doing some hands-on work. We’ll spend most of our days building, but we’re also planning to squeeze in some cultural activities. The weather will be dry and hot (83 to 91 degrees) … pretty consistent with most sunny vacation spots.

Sign Up to Learn More

GV2Interested in going with us? Get us your contact information and we’ll update you as more details become available. So far what we know:

  • Dates – March 16th through 28th, 2017
  • Cost – $1900.00 plus airfare per person

Call 360.715.9170 or email volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org if you’d like us to keep you informed as we move forward!

We Need Your Help in Sumas This Saturday!

Paul at SumasConstruction Project Manager Paul Stromdahl is burning the candle at both ends to get the Gutierrez family in their home before the kids are due back in school. We’d hate for the children to have to transfer after the school year has already begun. But to accomplish our goal, Paul needs all the help he can possibly get. If you’re available this Saturday, August 6th and willing to help out, we’d be grateful to have you. Paul plans to tackle flooring, counter tops, painting, and some yard work.

Call Janet at 360.715.9170 or email volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org to sign up. Plan to get to Sumas by 8:30 to 8:45 AM. We’ll take a lunch break around Noon and work until 4 to 4:30 PM. If you’re unable to stay for the entire day, please let us know so we can plan accordingly!

Golf Tournament Next Week!

golf-2-2Whatcom County Association of Realtors golf tournament to benefit Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County is this coming Thursday, August 4th at North Bellingham Golf Course. Join us for:

  • Registration and a pizza lunch starting at 12:30pm
  • Shotgun start at 1:30pm
  • Cash prizes
  • Beer holes
  • BBQ afterwards

Register individually or in teams online here, or at the course (at 205 W. Smith Rd in Bellingham) beginning at 12:30pm. What a fun way to support Habitat!