Freeland resident Lucas Jushinski is making a difference on the South End in a big monetary way.
For the month of May, Jushinski, owner of Island Alternative Medicine in Freeland, will match donations to Good Cheer up to $10,000. The money will be used to supply locally grown organic produce to the food bank.
“I really believe in what they’re doing. They provide a great service to the community, I really believe in the crew and people who work there,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any other organization here that’s providing such a needed service.”
Jushinski first got involved with the food bank while completing his studies at Evergeen State College through community service. He eventually became Good Cheer’s first garden apprentice.
While working at Good Cheer, Jushinski battled traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from his service in the Navy. He served eight years working as a corpsman, including being embedded in a marine unit in combat situations in Iraq and serving in hospitals treating injured soldiers. Working at the garden helped with his recovery, but treatments of traditional pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by the Veteran’s Administration did not improve his condition and made him feel worse.
Jushinski tried cannabis as an alternative medication and finally found relief. He then sought to help others find comfort from their own pains, both physical and emotional. He opened his own medical cannabis shop in Freeland — Island Alternative Medicine.
Two years later, Jushinski has nearly 1,000 clients with health issues who seek relief from chronic ailments and other autoimmune diseases.
From the day he opened his business, Jushinski said he would give back to organizations he believed in. His business plan was to invest back into the community he serves.
“Good Cheer was one of the groups that I want to give back to in whatever way I can,” he said.
The money will go toward the Fresh Food on the Table program at the food bank, which helps people in need have a variety of organic produce. The program supports the Good Cheer Garden and nearby farmers by purchasing organic produce during the winter.
“I just hope that people who need food will be able to get it,” he said. “I also hope that people in the community will step forward and also donate money.”
How to donate
Good Cheer is looking to raise $10,000 in the month of May to double the impact of Jushinski’s contribution. Donations can be made online at www.goodcheer.org or by mailing the donation to Good Cheer, P.O. Box 144, Langley, WA 98260. Please note the donation is for the matching grant.