By Bradley Turcotte –
Ottawa West Community Services (OWCS) invites Kitchissippi residents to “Pie a (Political) Guy” on June 26. Councillor Jeff Leiper has agreed to take a pie in the face, but only if OWCS can raise at least $1000. Once the funds are tallied, Leiper will take a face full of cream and crust in a bid to aid area seniors.
Last year’s barbeque gave residents the chance to pie staff members, but for this year’s event, OWCS’ Sarah Doiron aims to enhance community involvement and double the fundraising goal from $500 in 2014 to $1000.
Doiron approached Leiper at Hintonburg Park during one of his many pop up office hours and Leiper didn’t hesitate to take part, she says.
In addition to attractions such as a bake sale, live music and prizes from local businesses, the purchase of a ticket enters the attendee into a raffle for the chance to have the honour of throwing the pie.
Providing support services to seniors still living at home for over three decades, OWCS, which is primarily funded by the Ministry of Health and the City of Ottawa, enables this vulnerable demographic to maintain independence through various programs.
“Respite and homemaking is where a lot of our demand comes from as well as house cleaning, home maintenance, grass cutting, odd jobs, snow removal and other yard work,” Doiron explains, adding the centre also offers several on-site programs.
Leiper, who has held many ‘pop up’ office hours in Kitchissippi seniors’ centers, hopes his participation will not only raise funds for OWCS but also the profile of the organization.
“The fundraising for OWCS shouldn’t be a once a year thing. I’d love for OWCS to be on people’s radar year round. The work that they’re delivering as a contractor to the health sector is fantastic,” Leiper says.
Seniors are one of the most receptive populations to his outreach as a City Councillor, Leiper says, with concerns ranging from pedestrian safety to community planning. Baby boomers and those beyond, wish to remain active and OWCS is an outlet for engagement, Leiper continues.
“The benefit is not just to the seniors who are benefitting from the services that OWCS is providing,” Leiper says. “A lot of the volunteers are themselves seniors. There’s a big benefit that I’m cognisant of in terms of providing a volunteer opportunity for active seniors in my community who are seeking to make a meaningful contribution. Anytime an organization provides that opportunity, I think we need to leverage that.”
While Leiper waits for the desserts to leaven before the big day, the flavour of pie being thrown has gripped the community. The Wellington West BIA is rooting for a classic citrus projectile and taken to Twitter using #keylime, while Leiper says salted caramel would be an on-trend delight.
Dioron divulges that she is in talks with several area bakeries to supply the pies.
“I had not expected the degree to which the flavour of pie would become a topic of discussion,” Leiper laughs. “It’s going to be a surprise to me until I’m licking it off my face.”
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at online at owcs.ca or in person at OWCS (1137 Wellington St W.) and at local businesses including The Record Centre, Twiss & Weber, West End Well, Cyclelogik, and The Village Quire.
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