Queer-owned Edgewater Candles donating portion of pride candle sales to LGBTQ+ crisis hotline

Jasmine Minor Image
Tuesday, June 4, 2024
Edgewater Candles donating portion of pride sales to LGBTQ+ hotline
Queer-owned Edgewater Candles is donating 20% of the sales from their pride label candles in June to the Trevor Project's crisis hotline.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Queer-owned Edgewater Candles is celebrating their eighth birthday as a company, and kicking off Pride Month by putting mental health for LGBTIA+ youth at the forefront.

The company has created more than 100 different labels, each one representing a different Chicago neighborhood, as well as a special label that, while debuting during Pride Month, will be available year round.

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"We're always gay," said co-owner Mark Towns. "We're not just gay at Pride Month."

Towns said they spent months designing their logos.

"If you live in Rogers Park, there's your pride candle. The same with the flags, like for somebody who's asexual to find their flag on a candle is cool," Towns said.

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In less than a minute, you can get a personalized neighborhood pride label added to your candle. Twenty percent of the proceeds from the sale of those pride labels will go to The Trevor Project, a crisis hotline for LGBTQIA+ youth.

"I would have benefited greatly from an organization like that when I was a queer teen," Towns said.

"Early on, when you come out and, like, everything seems like life or death," said Natalie Santoro, customer.

Santoro, a regular at Edgewater Candles, said when she came out nearly 10 years ago she felt isolated from lack of support.

"We need to be signaling to the kids around us that like we are safe people, for them to be ourselves around," she said.

According to 2023 data from the Trevor Project, 41% of LGBTQ+ youth said they considered attempting suicide, and 56% said they did not receive the mental health care they sought.

"It's very important to not limit yourself as a therapist and to continue learning," said Logan Spicer, counselor at ThriveWorks.

Spicer said she encourages more therapists to seek out education on different communities and their mental health needs.

Meanwhile, Edgewater Candles said they're using their products to make everyone feel welcome 365 days a year.

"It's clear to queer people, like who's been doing it the whole time when it was a risky business decision and versus like, perhaps a profitable one," Santoro said.

"I see you, I recognize you. I want you to know that you're welcome here," said Towns.