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Youth-led clothing drive ends with pie to Port Coquitlam mayor's face

Three Tri-Cities influencers contributed to the more than 1,500 used clothing items collected for Coquitlam's 3030 Gordon Project.

Does pie taste better when it's thrown at your face?

Perhaps, but it tasted like sweet victory for Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West after raising the most donations in a recent clothing drive for the homeless led by the Youth In Action (YIA) team with Community Volunteer Connections (CVC).

"I get lots of invitations coming across my office, but this one was very unique," he said. "I had to read it two or three times to make sure that I had it right."

By fundraiser's end, more than 1,500 items of clothing are going to the 3030 Gordon Project in Coquitlam (3030 Gordon Ave.) in helping vulnerable Tri-Cities residents stay warm and protected.

"For people experiencing homelessness in our community, a pair of clean dry socks is much more than a clothing item," said Olivia Tuan, YIA member.

"It is the most requested item in homeless shelters because clean socks prevent skin infections, nail diseases and frostbite, keep our feet dry and warm throughout the year and provide comfort by walking."

@tricitynews Sweet victory. 🥧 #tricitynews #portcoquitlam #portcoquitlambc #cvc #yia #youthinaction #clothingdrive ♬ original sound - TriCityNews

CVC spokesperson Danielle George told the Tri-City News the volunteer team, all School District 43 (SD43) secondary students, were "absolutely blown away" by the community support for the initiative.

Today (April 15), at the request that the projectile be pumpkin pie, West's son Liam had the honour of shoving the dessert in his dad's face, which was also covered in a heavy layer of whipped cream.

West raised 323 pairs of socks from a campaign that was neck-and-neck in the early goings.

"By asking for used clothes, we're doing our best to provide a safer future for our city," said YIA's Narissa Gillani, noting her fellow students wanted to take lead on educating the public on finding sustainable solutions.

"They [the competitors] truly helped us ignite the community involvement and we were hoping to generate this in this project."

The friendly competition included Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce board chair Jenifer Wright (254 gloves), and local TikTok fashion and comedy content creator Mehr Bhatia (239 hats).

"I know sometimes some people say, you know, young people are disengaged or not involved in the issues of our community. And I know from firsthand experience that's not the case," West said to the YIA team in praising their efforts to care for the region.

"I have seen how much young people in their community care about what's going on; how connected they are to what's going on, and their willingness to roll up their sleeves and do hard work and get involved and make a difference. And so all of you are tremendous examples of that."

The pie-in-the-face award ceremony took place at the City Centre branch of the Coquitlam Public Library (1169 Pinetree Way).

For more information on the CVC Youth In Action team, or to get involved, you're encouraged to visit the organization's website.