Last month, Island Herb offered the Whidbey Homeless Coalition the challenge of matching a $10,000 donation.
Eric Wing, Island Herb’s general manager, said the store’s team felt the need to support something on South Whidbey that has provided tangible benefits to the community. Owner Lucas Jushinski thought it might be a good way to give back to the local organization.
“I think there’s a long and great history of what they’ve been able to do in the community, and I think it’s touched Lucas personally on some level,” Wing said about the shop’s owner, adding that it’s not something he decided to do for the recognition.
Jushinski met with Jonathan Kline, Whidbey Homeless Coalition’s executive director, to share his plan. Over the period of one month, Kline turned to the community for help matching the donation through letters, email blasts, social media, phone calls and personal meetings.
His efforts were able to raise around $30,000, more than enough to match what Island Herb offered.
“The community response was huge. They definitely showed us some love this December,” Kline said, adding he was surprised by how quickly people responded.
The matching donation and the funds raised will go towards building staff capacity, including increasing training and available resources to better serve clientele.
It will also provide for community engagement, strengthening mentoring programs in the form of more one-on-one time with clients and case managers.
“In these past six months to a year, a lot more of people coming through the House of Hope have been classified as chronically homeless,” Kline said.
These people will be best served by the mentoring programs, as part of the operation costs for House of Hope.
The shelter requires around $9,000 each month to operate.