The Welfare, Health, Education, Empowerment and Local Church (W.H.E.E.L) Fund has raised $15 million since its inception in 2015.
The milestone was commemorated at a thanksgiving service dubbed the ‘W.H.E.E.L Wow Moment’, held at the Central Jamaica Conference (CJC) Board Room on June 4.
Contributions and pledges were collected leading up to and at the event itself which took the total up to the $15 million mark.
Manager and owner of Edens Valley, vegetarian protein manufacturing company located in Ewarton St. Catherine, Alton Scott, who delivered the main address, noted that while it may be impossible to ever give enough, everyone can give something.
“God has given you enough for yourself and your family, but the fat belongs to the Lord. The superabundance is not yours. I love the W.H.E.E.L Programme.” he said.
Scott demonstrated his commitment to the programme by pledging $300,000.
CJC President, Pastor Levi Johnson, said the celebration was in order because, in spite of the challenging times, persons have consistently donated from their resources. He also acknowledged the man who put forward the idea for the fund.
“We are indebted to Michael Spence. The idea of WHEEL came from him. He did not think it was for only him, but he shared the vision and we worked hard to make it a reality,” said Johnson.
Spence, who is chair of the W.H.E.E.L board, noted that the fund has disbursed $13 million to date with the majority of the requests being made for educational and health needs.
“We will be focused on helping our members to live healthy lifestyles so that we do not need to spend so much on health in future,” said Spence.
He commended current W.H.E.E.L coordinator, Charles Bulgin, for his management of the programme.
Bulgin registered his own commendations to Pastor Kevin Danvers who coordinated W.H.E.E.L from 2015 - 2017. He also thanked all local and overseas contributors who have faithfully donated to the programme month after month.
According to Bulgin, there are currently 175 churches contributing to the fund. Three churches (Portmore, NCU and Spanish Town) are contributing over $90,000 per month. He said that going forward, the goal is to raise $100 million per year towards W.H.E.E.L.
The W.H.E.E.L website states that the fund has allowed the Conference to address requests relating to welfare, education, and health in a more organized way rather than the previously used ad hoc approach.