The stories we’ve heard about our Points of Light corporate partners and their response to the COVID-19 crisis continue to inspire and amaze us. One such partner is Starbucks. With a long track record of taking care of our environment, we’d intended to highlight that commitment in this week’s Global Volunteer Month blog series. However, given the current situation, a more fitting way to recognize the company’s commitment to the planet is to talk about the things the company is doing as our world – together – confronts the coronavirus pandemic.
As the crisis in the U.S. continues to unfold, Starbucks is serving communities in ways that demonstrate the very best of its company and its people.
- They are caring for each other. Starbucks partners (employees) are the foundation of Starbucks fundamental Mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit. They have led through this crisis by caring for each other, including providing emergency benefits such as catastrophe pay for those who are not working, introducing Starbucks Service Pay for those who are, providing mental health benefits and offering backup childcare through [email protected]
- They are nurturing first-responders and nurturing spirits. Daily, first-responders and other front-line personnel can receive a free hot or iced coffee in Starbucks stores through May 31. It’s a small gesture on a grand scale; and it’s kindness and warmth when we need it most. Over 1M cups have already been given to those serving our communities! The Starbucks Foundation has also provided a grant toOperation Gratitude to deliver 50,000 care packages and handwritten letters to first responders and health care workers. You can join in to write letters at https://www.operationgratitude.com/starbucks/. On its Good Things are Happening blog, the company has chronicled ways its partners (employees) are doing incredible things to spark joy and help others. In Cleveland, Ohio partners threw a “prom” for a colleague whose prom was cancelled. In Barboursville, West Virginia a Starbucks partner took in a regular customer’s dog when her owner got sick. In Beverly, Massachusetts, partners converted empty café space into a mask-sewing station. And there are countless stories like this from across the company.
- They are supporting their neighborhoods. For example, in Philadelphia, The Starbucks Foundation is doing some important work to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We all know that handwashing is the most effective way to prevent becoming sick. But for homeless men and women, that’s not as easy as walking down the hall to the washroom. So, together with Broad Street Ministries, the foundation has set-up 12 handwashing stations throughout the city. The stations are stocked with 40 gallons of water, soap and paper towels and are operated with a foot pump. They’re refilled once or twice per week. It’s estimated that the stations are being used by more than 2,000 people every day and are having an impact on slowing the spread of the virus in the city. In addition, The Starbucks Foundation has donated $500,000 to support U.S. front-line responders with equal donations to Direct Relief to support the delivery of personal protective equipment and essential medical items
- They are mobilizing resources and supplies. In total, The Starbucks Foundation has donated more than $5.5 million dollars to nonprofit partners who are providing critical aid to vulnerable communities and supporting front-line responders. These funds address everything from the initial and immediate response to the crisis, to hunger relief efforts – including a partnership with Feeding America to support local foodbanks. Since closing its cafes in mid-March, Starbucks donated more than 700,000 meals, 62,000 gallons of milk, and 1 million cans of Teavana Craft Iced Teas throughout the U.S. and Canada. And counting.
- They are living out its social impact priorities. Even amid the pandemic, Starbucks continues important work to support veterans, access to higher education, equity and inclusion, and the environment. Like Points of Light and so many other organizations, Starbucks recognizes that while our collective attention is on the current crisis, needs in other areas continue. Just this week, in celebration of Earth Day, the company reiterated its commitment to sustainable coffee by highlighting the men and women who produce it.
During the crisis and our planet’s continued response to it, Cameron Melcher, a Starbucks partner since 2008 and a manager for the last two years, put things into perfect perspective. He runs a high-volume, 24-hour store in Manassas, Virginia that often caters to customers working overnight or in critical roles – people like doctors, policemen, firemen or delivery drivers. He said “With all the quarantines and social distancing, humanity is feeling some serious disconnect right now. I think it’s important that we can be there for our community and maybe even look at our role a little differently – as essential personnel – because of what we are doing and who we are serving.”
He’s right. What Cameron and his co-workers are doing isn’t “service” or volunteering in the way we typically think about them – his story and each of these stories are absolutely about serving communities and one another.
And we think that’s pretty awesome.
To learn more about Global Volunteer Month, and to find information on how you can make a difference and be a #LocalLight in your community, please visit: https://www.pointsoflight.org/global-volunteer-month/