Rotaract Club lights up Candle in the Dark

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Twenty-four members of the Rotaract Club of Mandeville have adopted the Candle in the Dark drop-in centre as they continue their efforts to assist those in need, especially homeless individuals in this south-central town.

Andre Wallace, club secretary and immediate past president of the service club, told the Jamaica Observer recently that the need for food supplies at the centre, especially over the past three weekends, propelled his team to do a food drive.

“Based on our analysis of the shelter, there hasn’t been a lot of donations during the lockdown period, so this has been beneficial to them,” he said.

The Rotaract Club is the junior arm of the Rotary Club which is among the more active service-oriented organisations operating in Jamaica. With an average of 60 people taking refuge at the drop-in centre on a daily basis, there is a constant need for food and clothing items.

“We [recently] collected food items from our members and our donors because having done the clothing drive we met with the staff at the drop-in centre, and they said anything is welcome. We mainly donated canned items, among other things, as we knew what they wanted [after speaking with the chef],” he added.

“This [donation] is important as they need the food supplies to feed those in need and more so to take them (homeless) off the road… We understand that anything that is donated is mainly used up on a Saturday because that’s when a lot of people come in off the streets for a meal and a shower, so we donated soap and clothing as well,” he said.

Scores of homeless people utilise the drop-in centre which is managed as a non-profit organisation. It has been in existence for more than 26 years.

The service club has done a number of partnerships with youth-based groups and organisations in the parish, donating paint, equipment and cash to schools, the Mandeville Regional Hospital and the infirmary.

— Kasey Williams

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