Austin cookie company raising $1 million to create safe spaces for LGBTQIA youth

The countdown is on to December 31st to help raise a million dollars for Wunderkeks to expand their cookie company, into grocery stores nationwide.

Luis Gramajo and Hans Schrei say their goal to raise the money is not about getting rich, it’s to create safe spaces for LGBTQIA youth with the help of their signature pink boxes.

"We started receiving mostly emails [from parents] saying that they had the idea that their son was queer but they didn’t know how to bring it up," Gramajo explains.

It’s a July morning at their North Austin home. The immigrant couple spends their time on the back patio playing with their dogs while waiting for a test recipe for their new apple pie cookies to bake. It’s a daily life activity they don’t take for granted.

"One of the reasons why we moved from Guatemala is that we were looking for a space for us because we couldn’t get married there and it was a little tougher," Hans Schrei says.

The couple understands what it’s like to not have a safe space to be themselves.

"[Parents] found [the conversation] was easier to approach [by] getting our special edition for pride cookies so they knew [their children] could feel comfortable in bringing up the conversation," Gramajo said, referring to their signature pink boxes.

The feedback from parents came to them after the company partnered with LOVELOUD Foundation to raise money for LGBTQ youth in 2021.

Now, during a time when many Queer advocates say their community’s rights are attacked, data shows the impact. Numbers from The Trevor Project show two out of five LGBTQ youth say they’re living in a community unaccepting of LGBTQ people and 45% have considered attempting suicide.

In Texas, calls, texts, and chats to the Trevor Project’s Crisis hotline have grown by 150%.

"We were looking for that safe space for us as a family and when we came here we found it immediately," Schrei says.

Now they’re on a mission to make sure everyone has safe spaces by putting pink boxes in every grocery store in the U.S.

"Guess what? We both like chocolate chip cookies that’s all. We’re humans, we have our differences but [cookies] bring us together and this is why we’re here," Gramajo says. "We’re going beyond any product that we can produce, providing those spaces with everybody that comes in touch with our company and our story and with everything that we do we are very thankful and we are here also to spread your story and however we can amplify and we can empower you to do it."

To get on store shelves, the company is looking to crowdfund $1 million by December 31st.

If you’re interested in more information or want to order a pink box of cookies, visit their website.

As a reminder, if you or someone you know is thinking about hurting themselves, help is available. You can call or text 9-8-8 the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline.

It’s meant to help connect anyone including those in the LGBTQ community with help during mental or behavioral emergencies.