For Wendy Freckleton, giving back to her community has always been second nature.
The JN Bank member and president of the JN Circle, Mandeville, in 2018, took over the reins of the non-profit organisation, Candle in the Dark Ministries. Based on her years of experience in community outreach, social advocacy and philanthropy, Mrs Freckleton took hold of the opportunity to provide well-needed assistance to the homeless and mentally challenged living in Manchester.
Currently, more than 60 homeless and mentally challenged people visit the Mandeville-based drop-in centre monthly for food, shelter, clothes, and other basic amenities. Candle in the Dark Ministries also provides a community outreach programme, where up to 20 indigents in the community of Greenvale receive meals daily.
Under the leadership of Mrs Freckleton, the organisation, with the assistance of the New Zealand Embassy Fund, JN Foundation and other civic organisations, constructed and opened a shelter in March of 2020, where they have the capacity to accommodate about 24 people. The plan is to expand the facility to provide bed space for about 40 persons at full capacity.
“Through the Candle in the Dark Ministries, I work to empower the homeless and the mentally challenged with the hope of coaching them to become independent once more. As a community advocate, I also continue to empower and inspire young people so that they can realise that there is hope, and no matter what the challenges are, they can achieve great things,” Mrs Freckleton said.
Though the non-profit organisation continues to make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of Jamaicans, it is just a small part of the work Mrs Freckleton continues to do through her various philanthropic endeavours.
“I have always had a passion for empowering young people. For 25 years, I operated the Mandeville Weekly community newspaper and employed young people who needed a second opportunity to become literate and learn a skill. I am very proud of those who achieved success. As president of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, I spearheaded the construction of the D. Frank’s Early Childhood Institute, as I recognised the need for greater educational opportunities for the young people in the Greenvale community,” she informed.
Mrs Freckleton noted that her main goal is to empower others and help them recognise that there is hope and that no matter the challenges, they can achieve great things.