African Canadian Association of Ottawa launches COVID-19 relief program

The African Canadian Association of Ottawa has been running a COVID-19 relief program this fall. Photo courtesy of the African Canadian Association of Ottawa's Facebook.The African Canadian Association of Ottawa has been running a COVID-19 relief program this fall. Photo courtesy of the African Canadian Association of Ottawa’s Facebook.

JHAMESHA MILORD ASHFORD – OTTAWA • ON | 11-12-2020
Community, COVID-19, Culture

A COVID-19 relief program was recently launched by the African Canadian Association of Ottawa to help community members who are in need of food and can’t get other forms of assistance.

The African Canadian Association of Ottawa (ACAO) is an organization of 53 African country associations and ethnic cultural groups. The association was able to receive funding from The Red Cross, and partnered up with Africa World Market, an African goods store on Cyrville Rd, to get food at a low rate.

This program distinguishes itself from others by serving the African-Caribbean community and delivering food that the ethnic group would like, such as African spices along with non-perishable foods that would last two months. A survey was also done to learn what the Black population in Ottawa would want, in terms of donations.

Hector Utterson, director of programs and resource coordinator at ACAO, said they were faced with a few challenges like language barriers, and even doing the actual deliveries.

“We never anticipated that the delivery would be such a challenge, even though we mapped out the city by postal codes and other stuff…Sometimes you call and you get to the place, and the client is not there. Then you move on to another delivery only to be called back,” Utterson said.

ACAO makes sure that staff place calls to keep track of the number of families being served. So far, more than 175 families have been served and there have been over 500 requests for COVID-19 relief packages. Their first phase of relief packages ended Nov. 30 and they’re hoping to roll out a second phase by the middle of December to help more families.

Donations from the public and other organizations are helping the association stay afloat.

Members of the community can also donate money, with a credit or debit card on their website.

To register for a relief package, you can email [email protected]

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