There have been several companies who've donated its services in an attempt to make life a little less miserable for front-line workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those in the food service industry. The world's most ubiquitous coffee chain, Starbucks, for example, has given away a whopping 2 million cups of coffee since the coronavirus threw our global society into disarray.
And it looks like the Seattle-based java giant is going to give away even more of the bean juice, because in a December 1, 2020 statement on its company blog, Starbucks has announced it will be giving away a free tall hot or iced coffee to all front-line workers for the entirety of this year's final month as a way to say thanks for the extra work they've been doing all year and will likely continue to do for the upcoming months.
Virginia Tenpenny, Starbucks' Vice President wrote, "It has been an extraordinarily difficult year, especially for the front-line responders who are serving our communities. We want to show our deep gratitude for those who support and protect us every day with a small gesture of kindness and a cup of coffee."
There are a few catches: the location has to be based in the US, and it needs to be a participating franchise or licensed store.
So who is allowed a free cup of joe? A lot of folks, actually: "Those eligible for the offer include front-line health care providers and first responders, including: doctors, nurses, public health workers, pharmacists, dispatchers, fire fighters, paramedics, EMTs, law enforcement officers, dentists and dental hygienists, mental health workers (therapist, psychologist, social worker, counselor, etc.), hospital staff such as janitor/housekeeping/security, military on active duty, contact tracers, vaccine and pharmaceutical researchers, pilots, flight attendants, TSA, and medical researchers."
Starbucks isn't just giving away free cups of caffeine to help first responders out during these stressful times either, the company's handed $100,000 over the NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
The funds will be utilized for "virtual mental health resources" to help care for front-line workers.
Starbucks is also playing elf: some 50,000 different first responders will receive special Starbucks stocking stuffers this holiday season comprised of gift cards and "care packages."
The coffee giant's highlighted the work its been doing since March to aid in the coronavirus pandemic. To date, more than $1 million has been directly donated from the company to help support front-line workers during this time.
Some 300,000 free care packages have been distributed from Starbucks via Operation Gratitude, along with 110 pallets of K-cup pod donations to various hospitals and military outfits. Thousands of hospital workers have received free gift cards from the company and over 120,000 cups of coffee from Starbucks locations alone have been handed over to healthcare employees.
So it appears that the world's third largest fast-food chain is looking to end 2020 with a bang and hopefully usher in some good karma come New Year's Eve 2021.