As I’ve watched the devastation unfold from Hurricane Harvey in southeast Texas and Louisiana, I’ve been overwhelmed by the scope of this unprecedented disaster but inspired by the response of our own partners and customers. Workplace by Facebook posts reveal store after store taking the initiative to take care of one another and the communities we serve.
In Houston, we have already donated 8,000 – 10,000 fresh lunches and 31,000 bottles of water to the Houston Convention Center. Within 24 hours of the declaration of emergency, we activated the POS contribution nationally to allow our customers to contribute to the American Red Cross relief efforts to which the Starbucks Foundation already contributed $250,000. The Starbucks App now prompts customers across the country to give as well. The speed and thoughtfulness of our initial response reminds me that at a time of great need, we are at our best. We need to be, because this disaster is far from over and thousands of our partners and customers will need assistance.
Through conversations with Kris Engskov, Traci York and our local leadership, I’m grateful for the focus on the safety and well-being of the 5,600 partners still impacted by the floods. We will continue to make them our top priority as the crisis continues.
Many of you are also asking what you can do to help partners impacted by Hurricane Harvey. One of the first things I learned when I came to Starbucks in 2015 was about the CUP Fund (“Caring Unites Partners”) donation program. Founded in 1998 by Starbucks partners, the CUP Fund has been a financial safety net for partners in times of need. Starbucks Partners and proceeds from the Starbucks stores in the Support Center provide one hundred percent of the funding.
Since 1998, we have donated $20,000,000 and have helped 21,000 partners. If you are impacted by Hurricane Harvey and flooding in Texas, I encourage you to apply for a grant from the CUP Fund by calling the Partner Contact Center (PCC) at (866) 504-7368) or the Hurricane Harvey Support Line at (844) 241-5963. The PCC team is ready to assist you and will expedite your request. For those of you not immediately impacted, the single best thing you can do is help raise awareness of CUP Fund grants to partners in need, and continue to round up your purchases at our company-owned stores. You can find out more about the CUP Fund at MyPartnerInfo. If there was a time when “Caring Unites Partners”, this is it.
As we have learned from Katrina and other natural disasters, it will take time for business to get back to normal and Harvey appears to be exceptional in its scope. While teams are working to re-open our Distribution Center and nearly 350 stores as quickly as possible, we need to do so in a safe and responsible manner that puts our partners and customers first. The economic consequences to the country and region is expected to be significant, and as one of our largest markets, this will undoubtedly have an impact on our business as well. For now, however, our focus must only be on how we can help our partners.
I want to thank all of you who have already lent a hand, contributed to the CUP Fund, or found other ways to assist. We will continue to find ways where we can help in the recovery and rebuilding efforts, and I encourage you to send ideas and recommendations. The resilience and dedication of our Texas and Louisiana partners is an inspiration to us all and one of the finest examples of how we live Our Mission and Values. Let’s continue to do everything we can to support them.
president and ceo