Portland, Oregon — Watching the horrors unfold during the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Wayne Schwind decided he wanted to help those in the LGBTQ community reeling from the tragedy.
So Schwind, owner of Periodic Edibles, a Portland producer of cannabis-infused caramels, came up with his own way to reach out and give back. This week, Periodic Edibles launched a new product line called “One,” which will raise funds for the Q Center, a safe space for Portland’s LGBTQ community.
“Anytime there are innocent people affected like this for simply being who they are, we really need to have a larger social and cultural response,” Schwind said. “As a business, of course we have a goal of making money, but we’re also part of the community and we want to give back. This is our small way of doing that.”
The company will start with a limited run of 1,000 “One” recreational 15mg Sea Salt Caramels at select Portland retailers. The goal of the first run is to net $3,500 for Q Center, much-needed funds that will help the 13-year-old institution pay for staffing and space, said Justin Pabalate, the center’s executive co-director.
“This would pay to keep us open for a month and also help us provide services and outreach in the community,” Pabalate said. “The struggle for nonprofits like Q Center is always about funding. And when somebody like Wayne comes forward and wants to help us out, that makes a huge impact.”
In some ways, Pabalate said the LGBTQ and cannabis communities are kindred spirits. Both face a constant battle dealing with stigma and misunderstanding in mainstream society.
“They’re like a parallel to the green stripe in our rainbow,” Pabalate said. “We both face stigma, we both face frustration when the reaction to our groups is emotional rather than based in science. In the LGBTQ community that means we have things like blood donation bans, based solely on fear. In the cannabis world, fear is used to put a disproportionate number of minorities in jail. We need to break that stigma and break down those silos of thought.”
Schwind said he also sees parallels between the two communities.
“That’s really another reason this makes so much sense – there are a lot of similarities in the ways we’re viewed and the ways we’re both pushing toward cultural acceptance,” he said.
If the line is successful, Schwind said he hopes to continue the project – both by raising more funds for Q Center and expanding the giving to other local charities that may also need help.
“If we can do this every three or four months, that would be fantastic,” Schwind said. “I think as a business if we’re in the position to give back to our community, we should. I hope to do many more projects like this in the future.”
To learn more about “One” or to find a shop, visit http://www.periodicedibles.com/.
For more information contact:
Wayne Schwind, owner, Periodic Edibles, (360) 989-7316, firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Pabalate, executive co-director, Q Center, (503) 278-3470, email@example.com
*More photos available on request