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Extend-A-Hand donations helped Marvin get above water financially, focus on mental health

Bellingham Herald - 1/20/2024

Jan. 20—The Bellingham Herald's Extend-a-Hand charity appeal, now in its fifth decade, partners with Unity Care NW and the Opportunity Council to help families like these:

When 19-year-old Marvin was fighting to keep his head above water, dealing with the slippery intersection of general anxiety, social anxiety and depression, he faced a choice every month — either he could pay for all his necessities such as utilities, hygiene products, food and clothing, or he could pay for his necessary medications.

It was a lose-lose situation, and whatever need he chose to prioritize, he still seemed to always be falling behind. Marvin's construction work clothes and gear were often in shreds by the time he got new ones, compromising not only his comfort, but also his safety. Extend-a-Hand helped him access what he needed without slipping back underwater.

Extend-a-Hand funds also helped Marvin rise to the surface by providing him with hygiene supplies, including a new toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and shower products. The program supplied him with new work clothes.

Marvin finally felt like he was catching up on the things he'd had to neglect, which had been a huge factor in his anxiety. He now had the tools to put his health first.

How to help

This year's campaign has raised nearly $43,000 through Jan. 9. We hope you'll consider also giving to Extend-a-Hand to help local organizations make big differences in small ways for Whatcom County residents who need immediate help with housing and health care all year long.

The Herald covers administrative costs up to $50,000 in donations, so gifts directly support people assisted at Unity Care NW and the Opportunity Council. Donations are tax-deductible.

— You can mail donation checks to Extend-a-Hand, c/o Opportunity Council, P.O. Box 2134, Bellingham, WA 98227.

— Donations are also accepted online via credit card or PayPal or by credit card at www.oppco.org/extend-a-hand, or by calling Katie Rose at 360-734-5121, ext. 1332.

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