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Photos: 'What we do is addictive': Coquitlam students repurpose wedding flowers for non-profit they started

For high tea today (Tuesday) to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, residents at a Port Coquitlam seniors home will be surrounded by roses, hydrangeas and wildflowers thanks to Repeat Floral.

For high tea on this afternoon (Sept. 13) to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, residents at a Port Coquitlam seniors home will be surrounded by roses, hydrangeas and wildflowers.

The bouquets and wreaths were donated by Repeat Floral, a non-profit group made up of three Grade 12 students from Coquitlam whose mission is to reclaim wedding flowers and repurpose them in healthcare facilities, as well as at stations where emergency personnel work.

Founded last June by Yolanda Yang, an International Baccalaureate student at Port Moody Secondary, along with Miller Cao of Pinetree Secondary and Isabella Zhang, a student at Meadowridge School in Maple Ridge, Repeat Floral works with Lower Mainland wedding planners to find new homes for wedding flowers and “spread joy.”

“Honestly, what we do is addictive,” Yang told the Tri-City News after handing out recycled flowers at R.J. Kent Residences in Port Coquitlam on Monday after school.

“We just love seeing people’s reactions when they get such incredible gifts. We are very grateful to the wedding couple for their donations and sharing their spirit.”

Sometimes, the calls to pick up flowers come at unusual hours, Yang said.

They’ve been asked to collect flowers late at night — often in the early-morning hours — and at fancy venues in downtown Vancouver.

Once, they were even called to Grouse Mountain, where a couple tied the knot and held a private party.

Zhang said the flowers can go to waste if the married pair isn’t able to take their bouquets home from their destination nuptials in Vancouver.

And each pick-up typically yields up to $5,000 in donated floral arrangements.

This summer, the team won $10,000 in the Youth Impact Challenge plus the Public Choice Award of $250 in the environmental category.

With this funding, Repeat Floral hopes to expand its services and encourage other groups to follow suit.

As Yang’s brother has high-functioning autism, the group also plans to involve people with development disabilities with deliveries. “We want to be as inclusive as possible,” she said.

Charity Maron, general manager of R.J. Kent Residences, said the flowers delivered on Monday from weddings at the Pitt Meadows Golf Club and from Cecil Green Park House in Vancouver are appreciated by residents and staff alike.

“The smell is incredible,” she said. “It’s awesome.”

“It makes me happy,” added resident T.J. Rusk. “And I just love seeing the young people’s faces when they come in. They are just as excited as we are about the bouquets.”

Repeat Floral can be reached on Instagram @repeat.floral.