64.6 F
Bellingham
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Change clothes, change a life

 

Wise Buys Thrift Store is located at 1224 State St. // Photo by Connor Jalbert
Wise Buys Thrift Store is located at 1224 State St. // Photo by Connor Jalbert

Cheap clothes? Check. Unique finds? Check.

The allure of thrift shops is not lost within Western students, but not everyone knows about the nonprofit work many local stores take part in.

Wise Buys, which has been a member of the Bellingham community for 25-plus years, has been owned by a nonprofit organization called Lydia Place since it purchased the shop from the Young Women’s Christian Association in 1989. Community Engagement Coordinator Kyle Fuller said the organization is dedicated to ending homelessness in Whatcom County and giving homeless individuals the tools to find permanent housing.

“Our goal is to help women, men, families – especially children – get into housing,” Fuller said. “It’s our goal to not only get them off the street, but to get them into their forever homes,” Fuller said.

All of the proceeds from purchases goes to Lydia Place, BLANK. // Photo by Connor Jalbert
All of the proceeds from purchases at Wise Buys goes to Lydia Place. // Photo by Connor Jalbert

There are 719 homeless individuals in Whatcom County and Lydia Place serves about 300 households every year, helping everyone from single individuals to families with children, Fuller said.

Wise Buys’ Store Manager Nancy Long spoke to the significance of Lydia Place helping households with children. An important goal of Lydia Place is keeping homeless families together, because oftentimes families end up separated, Long said.

“It’s not just helping [homeless individuals] find a home, but to help them with whatever they need and give them the resources and avenues they need to be able to stay in a home,” Long said.

Providing housing while failing to provide resources solves the problem temporarily, but does little to stop homelessness in the long run. Fuller refers to this as a “Band-Aid” solution.

“It’s not just helping [homeless individuals] find a home, but to help them with whatever they need and give them the resources and avenues they need to be able to stay in a home.”

Nancy Long

“Studies show that if a child is homeless, more likely than not, they are going to become homeless as an adult,” Fuller said.

Wise Buys Thrift Store has a diverse range of products from retro sweaters to BLANK. // Photo by Connor Jalbert
Wise Buys Thrift Store has a diverse range of products from retro sweaters to modern dresses. // Photo by Connor Jalbert

Lydia Place provides programs, such as the Transitional House Program, to prevent homeless children from becoming homeless adults. The program is designed to give women and children a transitional house to stay in for 6 to 12 months before being moved to more permanent housing, Fuller said.

“We’re primarily volunteer-run. Our tagline is ‘Great bargains for a great cause.’ We also help the community with a few of the vocational programs in order to give people work experience,” Long said. “They get a chance to come here and develop their job skills so they can go find work, so it kind of ties into the overall mission.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4,048FansLike
1,241FollowersFollow
5,582FollowersFollow
77SubscribersSubscribe

Trending

Latest News

Local beer helps local salmon

Aslan’s new IPA is certified by Salmon-Safe Sammy the Salmon, the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association’s mascot, holds up a six-pack...

More Articles Like This