(CBS4) – The COVID-19 outbreak has led to a rise in crime against Asian Americans in the United States. Last week, President Joe Biden signed a bill addressing the rising number of anti-Asian attacks.
An Asian immigrant couple is using their Colorado business to increase awareness and offer protection to a targeted community.READ MORE: Shooting At Aurora Apartment Complex Injures Mom And Child Inside Unit
“We were donating to the GoFundMe pages of victims’ family members, but it just wasn’t enough,” said Wenter Shyu, co-owner of Third Culture Bakery. “It’s just so random and unprovoked. We took that feeling of helplessness and wanted to do something about it.”
Shyu and his partner, Sam Butarbutar, created Third Culture Bakery together. The couple met in California, but offer pastries reflective of their childhoods in Indonesia and Taiwan. The name of the business comes from the term Third Culture Kids, children who grew up in a culture different from that of their parents. They built the bakery on inclusivity and acceptance, because they know it’s a different world outside of their doors.
The couple came up with the idea of offering free safety kits, with products like pepper spray and keychain alarms.
“We asked a couple of our Asian elder friends and family and they immediately said yes. They said they would love to use this on their evening walks to feel safer at night,” said Butarbutar. “Everywhere is becoming unsafe, even for people who have been here for generations.”READ MORE: Parade, Concerts & More: Juneteenth Celebrations Underway In Denver
They began giving kits out in senior homes in California. Each kit costs about $9 to make. At first, they planned on making a few hundred kits with their own money. Since then they’ve gotten requests for more than 6,000 kits.
“We are taking donations and fundraising through our store sales, any way we can to finish and complete that goal to get the kits out to folks who need it,” said Shyu. “Right now we’re just trying to fulfill all the requests.”
Once Shyu and Butarbutar fulfill their current orders, they can begin making more kits for Coloradans. In addition to the AAPI community, Third Culture Bakery also includes Black and LGBTQ communities as a focus for distribution.
They opened their first Colorado location in Aurora. The bakery owners received a donation from Aurora Police Department to create a few hundred more safety kits.
“When we pass them out to seniors, some of them just start crying because they feel like they’ve always been neglected or maybe forgotten about. People get emotional because they feel seen,” said Butarbutar.MORE NEWS: Lightning Sparks Over 20 New Wildfires In Extreme Southwest Colorado On Friday
For more information on Third Culture Bakery, visit thirdculturebakery.com.