Starbucks offering free coffee to those on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic
The company’s charitable foundation also donated $500,000 to support first responders and healthcare workers with PPE and care packages
MLive.com, Walker, Mich.
SEATTLE — Starbucks is doing its part to help frontline responders to the COVID-19 outbreak continue their essential duties.
The coffee giant announced Wednesday that it will offer a free tall coffee, hot or cold, to any customer who identifies as a frontline worker during the coronavirus outbreak. The offer is valid until May 3.
The Starbucks Foundation will also donate $500,000 to support frontline responders with equal donations to Direct Relief to support the delivery of personal protective equipment and essential medical items and to Operation Gratitude to deliver 50,000 care packages and handwritten letters to first responders and health care workers.
“I am inspired by our Starbucks store partners around the world who proudly wear the green apron and who are rising to the occasion. They demonstrate our resilience and our commitment to the communities we serve,” CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in a letter to customers this week.
“It is the responsibility of every business to care for its employees during this time of uncertainty, shared sacrifice, and common cause. I hope to see many business leaders across this country doing all they can to retain jobs, pay employees, continue benefits, and demonstrate compassion as they make critical decisions. Not every decision is a financial one.”
The company didn’t specifically clarify what constitutes a “frontline responder,” but police, firefighters, EMS, hospital workers, grocery and supply chain workers and delivery services are among those deemed “essential” by the government.
Starbucks has closed all its company-operated cafes across the U.S. and Canada and shifted to a drive-thru operating model to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
The company previously said all Starbucks U.S. and Canada retail partners will be paid for the next 30 days regardless of whether their store is closed.
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