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The Ottawa Project is based at the Ottawa Catholic School and includes a fortnightly visit to distribute food parcels and to provide modest financial assistance for clinic visits and essential medicines as many have illnesses including diabetes, tuberculosis and heart ailments. The distribution starts with a hymn and a prayer.

At each visit, we talk to the recipients to establish if they have any immediate needs and to add an element of personal contact. Here we are helped by Primrose who translates language and customs between Zulu and English, the latter often with strong hints of French! The project was established in 1990 by Blessed Sacrament Parish. At present, our Conference contributes about half the financal and volunteer resources required to run the project.

Fifty two very needy families from Amoti, Canelands, Verulam and Ntzuma have been identified. Many recipients are grandparents supporting a number of dependants. Because our resources are limited, those that we do help are re-assessed on a regular basis to ensure that aid goes only to those who are really needy.

Currently, the food parcels cost about R75.00 per family per fortnight. What would you buy if you had to live on this amount? The parcels typically include 12.5kg mielie meal, 1kg dried beans, mild powder, sugar, oil, 500g four, tea, soap, washing powder, candles, 2 tins of pilchards, and 1 tin of baked beans. The food is purchased in bulk and stored at the home of one of the Conference members. The Conference members on duty meet early on Saturday morning to load and transport the parcels to Ottawa and assist in the distribution.

At Christmas, we make up special food hampers to share the joy of Christ's birthday with people less fortunate than ourselves. In 2001, Neighbourhood Support Group 37 contributed the bulk of the hampers and assisted in the distribution.

Blessed Sacrament also runs a separate school-feeding project at Ottawa and we occasionally donate clothes to the families helped by the food aid project. St Vincent de Paul has also trid to establish a self-help sewing project at Ottawa. This has not been successful, partly because people living in grinding poverty cannot easity acquire the myriad skills needed to become entrepreneurs.