Fashion, Fun, and Philanthropy: Handbags for Housing Is Back With a Hybrid Event for 2021

Submitted by Lydia Place

Thursday, September 16th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Lydia Place, along with presenting sponsor, San Juan Broadband, are bringing Bellingham’s largest fashion extravaganza and handbag exchange, Handbags for Housing, back with a first ever, hybrid event—featuring a fully vaccinated in-person event on Thursday, and a virtual auction continuing through Sunday, September 19th at 5 p.m. PST.  

A photo from 2019’s Handbag Bazaar, which was filled with hundreds of handbags priced from $10-$50. Photo credit: Evantide Photography

Entering its 9th year, Handbags for Housing—Lydia Place’s second largest annual auction and fundraiser—is taking back centerstage with a tropical paradise themed event to bring some much-needed fun andR&R for the community. Guests can flock to the Barkley Village Green and to, where they can shop hundreds of new and previously loved handbags curated to fit every style and budget, support local boutiques andRetailers featured in the fashionShow and raise critical funding for hundreds of families in our community experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness. 

Since its first appearance in 2013, Handbags for Housing has raised over half a million dollars for Lydia Place programs andServices With its long-term partner and Fashion Show sponsor, Labels Women’s Consignment Shop, Handbags for Housing is about empowerment andCreate aFormat fashion and philanthropy come together to leverage positive change. Together with over 50 local boutiques andBusiness sponsors and retailers and event partners, this year’s event has aFundraising goal of $125,000 and will spotlight the important role that Lydia Place’s Parent Support Program has as families look to get back to “normal”This fall.  

A shot from the 2019 Handbags for HousingThe event took place on Barkley Village’s green. Evantide Photography, photo credit

Class Rings

According to their latest annual newsletter “Only one in four low-income children are fully prepared to start Kindergarten. Our Parent Support Program promotes school readiness to help close this gap.” On average, Lydia Place’s PSP provides 500 home visits to families with young children who are enrolled in their housing programs. This year, in addition to their admission ticket, Handbags for HousingGuests can choose to bring either a new or previously loved handbag from their closet or donating a new children’s book to their Parent Support Program, which has aEach visit should include one book of age-appropriate content. 

Though it is not completely clear what the long-term impact the pandemic will have on Whatcom County families, Tally Rabatin, Lydia Place’s Community Engagement Director remains hopeful.  “Our agency is extremely grateful to our community members and partners that have continued to step up and contribute how and where they can,”She said. Those dollars, services, and partnerships were critical to making sure Lydia Place’s doors remained opened and we can continue to provide essential housing, parenting, and mental health services to the families in our community.”

Related  Olympic fashion for the entire household

Close to half of Lydia Place’s now $2.9-million budget depends on the generosity of community members who support the agency by way of cash donations, business sponsorships, bequests, foundations, and guest attendance at various fundraising events throughout the year. 

For those unable to attend Handbags for Housing on Thursday, September 16th, you can register as aVirtual auction guest forFree and shop the online handbag auction until it closes Sunday, September 19th at 5 p.m. PST. 

All proceeds from Handbags for Housing benefit Lydia Place, aLocal nonprofit agency working to end the cycle of homelessness forCurrent and future generations. You can purchase tickets, donate a handbag to support Lydia Place’s online auction, sign-up to volunteer, and more at

Looking forOther ways to help local families in crisis? You can get involved by becoming aLydia Place HousingHero Lydia Place can be your Hero for as low as $5 per Month “yes”Families in dire need of emergency housing. For more information or to set up your recurring gift today, please visit:

Featured photo by Evantide Photography

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