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Coping Cookies advocates for mental health - through baked goods

Last July, Ashley Hernandez and her partner Samantha Padilla took to their small apartment kitchen for a baking session. The menu was oversized, gooey cookies that barely fit into your palm — some weighing close to a quarter pound.

Hernandez shared these with her co-workers in the psychiatric medical unit at Seattle Children's Hospital in exchange for them donating to a local charity. The bake sale was such a success that today Hernandez and Padilla bake over 450 cookies each month for their company Coping Cookies.

The name came naturally. Hernandez and her co-workers were not only dealing with the struggles of their own lives during the pandemic but the well-being of their patients. With everyone on overdrive, Hernandez decided sharing some cookies would be a delicious way of coping.

Coping Cookies now has a menu of over 35 varieties. The cookies Hernandez included in the bake sale are now part of the O.G. Box, which Coping Cookies sells at pop-ups around the Seattle area. Once a month, Coping Cookies opens online orders for a new box with four cookies that ship all across the country.

With just the two-woman team working out of their commissary kitchen, they've had monthly boxes sell out in minutes. Lines for the pop-ups often wrap around the block.

"We're still astonished by the cookies we make," Padilla said.

Her favorite cookie was part of the original bake sale in July and now comes in the O.G. Box, This Sh!t is Bananas.

"We say this all the time: It's like if banana bread and a chocolate chip cookie had a baby," Padilla said. "It's seriously so good every single time."

Hernandez's favorite is the On A Roll, a spin on a cinnamon roll. The maple cookie has cinnamon chips, caramelized bourbon pecans and a cinnamon bun filling and weighs seven ounces.

"We really dedicated ourselves to giving people a really good cookie that they will remember," Hernandez said. "Even to this day when we try the cookies, we're like, 'Oh my god, we made that?'"

But Coping Cookies is still sweetening the deal. Not only are they serving incredibly unique cookies, but they're also supporting non-profits that work with marginalized populations or mental health wellbeing.

"We've continued to keep the notion of donating towards certain organizations, and we're very choosy about our organizations," Hernandez said. Coping Cookies reviews tax information and the board of directors of each organization before donating any money. Hernandez said they're carefully reviewing where the donated money is going and how much involvement they have in the community.

"We put a lot of love and a lot of time and work into the cookies, and we believe in the message," Padilla said.

Coping Cookies sells boxes of four cookies on their website and supports a new non-profit each month. Check Instagram for updates on ordering availability and Seattle-area pop-ups. Coping Cookies' next pop-up is April 24 at Seeking Kombucha in South Lake Union.

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