How can we make a difference in Port Coquitlam?

The Port Coquitlam Community Foundation strives to identify and solve social issues in our community. To accomplish this, we are part of Vital Signs, a national program coordinated by the Community Foundations of Canada. Vital Signs measures community vitality and shapes action to improving quality of life.

A new community initiative for PCCF, Vital Signs leverages local knowledge combined with highly relevant research data from the Community Foundations of Canada to help determine Port Coquitlam’s most critical area of need. This proven process will allow PCCF to identify a key issue and seek solutions and provide strategic funding.

Ultimately, the goal is make Port Coquitlam an even better place to live, work and play.

Vital Signs Advisory Task Force

In May 2018, the board of directors of Port Coquitlam Community Foundation appointed 14 distinguished members of the community to its Vital Signs Advisory Task Force.

Through engagement and dialogue the Task Force identified 2 key areas for the Foundation to focus on:

  1. Connecting Youth
  2. Senior Isolation and Belonging.

Connecting Youth

Gour-Made Youth Led Community Kitchen 2020

In January 2020 Access Youth Outreach Services Society (Access) was awarded PCCF’s first Vital Signs Grant funded by the Moore Family Community Fund.

Access facilitated a cooking program for youth ages 12 to 23 in partnership with Westcoast Families and School District 43 (SD43) called, Gour-Made Youth Led Community Kitchen that average 10 youth per session. Westcoast Families provided the kitchen space in Port Coquitlam and SD43 provided the referrals for participants. The program operated on under the direction of our Chef with the support of Youth Worker.

Pivot One:

In March 2020, the COVID19 lockdown forced this program to pivot in a way that quite surprisingly benefited the sustainability of this program beyond its scheduled longevity.

Transforming from a community-based kitchen into “Gour-Made Youth”, a program for community survival during the pandemic. The Foundation worked with Access on budgeting details to stretch the Vital Signs funding into the fall.

Gour-Made Youth went mobile in May 2020 and continued to offer free food program remotely. The program was pivoted in the following ways:

  • Chef made an instructional video on how to prepare and cook the week’s
  • Access used the Project Reach Out (PRO) bus to deliver the food parcels to each household during the day at the beginning of the week
  • Food parcels provided enough ingredients to feed the whole family and create the recipe of the week
  • Youth cooked the recipe of the week and posted their delicious creativity onto Instagram, incentivised by gift cards
  • Donated food allowed the program to operate longer the originally planned and recipes were adapted to reflect food donations

Transforming the community kitchen into a mobile program expanded their reach from 10 families and 28 families

Pivot Two:

In September 2020 Gour-Made Youth pivoted again by classifying it as an after-school program

and adapted the program in the following ways:

  • Food parcels deliveries shifted to Monday and Tuesday between 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
  • Outreach Youth Worker, a volunteer, a practicum student and a peer mentor on board the PRO bus for deliveries
  • Chef’s instructional video on all of our social media platforms.
  • Families were informed the youth worker on board can provide counselling/support services on the spot and in a COVID safe fashion.


  1. Gour-Made Youth created a virtual community among the youth when they had to be physically apart.
  2. Youth have learned fundamental life skills.
  3. Connections – families reported feeling closer by cooking together, parents/caregivers report they love not having to worry about dinner one night of the week, and that they have their teenager in the kitchen cooking and sometimes even cleaning!
  4. Learnings from this Vital Signs funded program enabled expansion to 5 cities and serving 38 Tri-Cities families and 2 Pitt Meadows families

Further impacts to be added after the final report.