Metro News Feature

 

YYC Petal Project re-purposes blooms into bouquets of kindness

Volunteers have delivered more than 700 pre-loved bouquets to people in Calgary since the project started this summer

Photo: ELIZABETH CAMERON

Kendahl Cowan started The YYC Petal Project in August.

Article originally appeared online here.

By: Elizabeth Cameron/For Metro

It all started when Kendahl Cowan asked a friend what she planned to do with her wedding day bouquets when all the celebrations were over.

Other than discarding the used blooms, there was no plan – but the flowers still had a few days of life left, so Cowan decided to re-purpose the wedding arrangements by delivering them to a women’s shelter.

Just like that, the YYC Petal Project was born.

“I didn’t really expect it to turn into what it has, but the response has been incredible,” Cowan told Metro. “You can totally see (an immediate) shift in people when they’re given flowers.”

With the help of 20-odd volunteers, Cowan has given away more than 700 bouquets that would have otherwise been thrown out since that first delivery in August.

It works like this: wannabe-donors fill out a form online that lets the team plan for a pickup. Then, the florals are taken to Cowan’s home where they are rearranged into smaller bouquets on her kitchen floor.

 Photo: ELIZABETH CAMERON  Kendahl Cowan (L) and Kaitlyn Kanygin arrange bouquets that will be delivered to a senior's home in Calgary.

Photo: ELIZABETH CAMERON

Kendahl Cowan (L) and Kaitlyn Kanygin arrange bouquets that will be delivered to a senior's home in Calgary.

Then they deliver the arrangements to anyone who could really use a floral pick-me-up, from senior’s homes to shelters or places like the Ronald McDonald House.

“It’s not a matter of just dropping them off, we make sure to go in and hand them out individually – that’s really important to us,” said Kaitlyn Kanygin, who markets the non-profit project on social media.

“We arrange to pick up the containers (the flowers are in) so we can reuse them and we encourage everyone to compost – or we can do it for them.”

The blooms are sourced from local florists and wholesale floral distributors, funeral homes, weddings – even car dealerships.

Cowan said she’s currently looking for a bigger space to make their arrangements because so many people want to get involved with the project.

“Sundays are for-sure flower days now, and really, we expect to be dedicated to it the whole weekend,” said Nichole Brown, the project’s volunteer coordinator. “It’s quite a bit of work, but we all love it – it really doesn’t feel like work.”

Kanygin said there’s no easier way to brighten someone’s day than with flowers.

“(Being given flowers) can totally change your outlook on the week and give you the extra boost you need,” she said. “I think that’s what we enjoy giving to other people.”

 Photo: ELIZABETH CAMERON  Even the containers the flowers are in are donated and recycled.

Photo: ELIZABETH CAMERON

Even the containers the flowers are in are donated and recycled.