Since March 2015, hundreds of persons have been empowered through the Welfare, Health, Education, Empowerment and Local Community (WHEEL) Fund, established by the Central Jamaica Conference (CJC) of Seventh-day Adventists.
The organisation spends more than $7 million annually in education grants for students in St Catherine, Clarendon and Manchester, and recently it responded with financial and other support to a St Thomas student who had been facing hardships at a university.
It also helps persons with medical bills, such as major operations; the setting up of business enterprises, and the mentoring of young people.
While the Fund is church-based, deriving its money mainly from members of the denomination, its focus is about meeting the needs of individuals, whether or not they are members of the church. The only requirement is to prove their situation.
Recently, on learning of a family in Mocho, Clarendon, which, despite its limitations, had been helping other families in distress, the Board of WHEEL and the CJC committed funds to provide them with a two-bedroom house, and other amenities.
“We were moved, because this struggling couple with their two children have opened their home to individuals who have been abused; some had nowhere to live,”
President of the CJC, Pastor Levi Johnson, shared.
“So, when we got the profile of the persons whom they were assisting, the only thing that we could have done is to assist with this project, and we are happy to do so,”
the President adds.
Sandria Madden says the two additional rooms will help her to fulfil her dream of rescuing more families who from time to time fall on hard times. She notes that the structure will be named Home of Refuge.
Mrs Madden points out that her house has been without electricity for four years, as she is unable to pay the $1.5 million to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to run the wire from a distance to the home.
Additionally, she says her chicken business of 500 birds has been crippled due to the lack of electricity and the curtailing of another business venture, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are extremely rich, but not financially, we are very happy. It is not about financials for us. Once you are blessed with anything, it is enough to share,” Mrs
Madden says, adding that even though the family is without light, she recently completed a university degree in social work, and her children maintain good grades at school.
“We are empowering people, and once we are able to help people, those moments are my proudest moments. When you look back at how many school fees we have paid, and those young men and women becoming functional citizens in our country, it makes you feel very good,”
Mr Spence shared.