Starbucks Partners Improve Communities One Volunteer Project at a Time

Starbucks Partners Improve Communities One Volunteer Project at a Time

Starbucks partners around the U.S. honor the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. by painting school hallways, cleaning toys for a children’s hospital, planting trees, packaging meals for families and making blankets for community shelters.

The hallways of Overbrook High School in Philadelphia are a little brighter this week as fresh paint and a fierce-looking panther mural adorn the walls.

Starbucks partners (employees) painted the orange mascot during the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Students returned to classes with a sense of pride in their school and a feeling that people in the community, they may not even know, care about them.

That scene was repeated in dozens of other schools around the U.S. and through community projects involving Starbucks volunteers who honored the legacy of Dr. King through service work Monday.

Just as Starbucks mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time, partners are helping individuals and improving their communities one volunteer project at a time.

Starbucks volunteers cut and sewed fabric in Oregon and Minnesota for homemade blankets that will be given to vulnerable children in local shelters.

In Houston, Texas partners cleaned toys and patients’ rooms at a children’s hospital while in Santa Clara, California Starbucks volunteers cleaned and refurbished gently-used books to support a neighborhood literacy program.

Partners from Starbucks stores in Oklahoma and Washington sorted produce and bulk foods to create more than 4,000 meals that will be distributed through food banks in three cities.

Wearing a green sweatshirt, Starbucks partner Jamie Thorn trekked through a forest hillside to plant shrubs near an area she drives by on her way to work in Seattle, Washington.

“Now I’ll have to look up to check to see how my plants are doing,” said Thorn, with Starbucks ethical sourcing team. “I like getting customers and partners together doing things that go beyond the retail experience. I also appreciate that as a company Starbucks lives the values that we speak about.”

Starbucks chief community officer Blair Taylor says in many ways work enhancing a Seattle green space was a metaphor for the impact Starbucks partners have in their neighborhoods through volunteer work.

“You set something in the soil, it grows roots and becomes something magnificent over time,” said Taylor, who planted trees with his children. “We have that opportunity every single day as a company with the 70 million people a week who come into our stores. We have a chance to connect with each other and make a significant difference in others’ lives through those relationships.”

Monday’s volunteer efforts on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day were a precursor to Starbucks fourth annual Global Month of Service. During the month of April, as they do year-round, partners around the world will lead community service projects focused on the specific needs in the neighborhoods where they live and work.

Collectively, Starbucks partners, their families and customers are nearly two-thirds of the way to the goal of providing one million service hours per year by 2015.

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