Offering hope: 17 ways to ‘Give Good’ in 2017

By Linda Dahlstrom and Jessica Conradson / Starbucks Newsroom

The smallest thing can make the biggest difference.

During times of disaster and tragedy when the world feels out of control, personal acts of compassion and kindness can help us know that we are still here for each other. We are still connected.

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, decimating lives and communities, a friend gave Virginia Rivera homemade ice packs to keep the food in her fridge cold until generators arrived – a small kindness that meant she wasn’t in it alone.

Sarah Lee Jimenez remembers a time during the holidays when her family was struggling to have enough to eat and they arrived home to find the anonymous gift of groceries for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Unexpected acts, large or small, can be so meaningful that even years later, they’ll be warmly remembered.

That’s the idea behind the “Give Good” campaign at Starbucks this holiday season – give to those near and dear to you, give to strangers in your community, give a gift that helps planet Earth. You may never know the full impact or the ripples of good that spring out of it.

You are probably already finding ways to do this, but as the holiday season arrives, here are 17 more ways you can “Give Good” in 2017 and beyond:

1. Reach out to a family whose spouse is deployed and offer to babysit the children so the parent can run errands or have a little time to relax. That’s one of the things military spouses who are Starbucks partners tell us helps them most. (Starbucks has hired more than 10,000 veterans and military spouses since 2013 and has committed to hiring 25,000 by 2025.)

2. Invite a friend you haven’t seen for a while for a cup of coffee or tea.

3. Treat yourself to a bag of single-origin coffee that helps support individual farmers. Conservation International and Starbucks have partnered to help improve the lives of at least 1 million people in coffee communities around the world through giving away hearty coffee trees and sharing resources through Starbucks Farmer Support Centers.

4. Grab a couple of friends and go caroling at a local nursing home to spread some cheer.

5. Consider becoming a mentor and helping to change another life – and possibly even your own. Starbucks is committed to giving opportunities to the nearly 5 million youth in the U.S. ages 16 to 24 who aren’t working or in school by hiring through the Opportunity Youth program. Starbucks has hired more than 40,000 Opportunity Youths and is committed to hiring 100,000 by 2020.

6. Take time to let a teacher or someone from your past who changed your life in some way know how much that meant to you.

7. Donate to your local food bank and volunteer– not just during the holidays but through the year. Starbucks partners who have experienced true hunger know that having access to nourishing food can change everything for someone who is struggling. That’s why they are proud to participate in Starbucks FoodShare program. In 15 markets around the U.S., food that hasn’t sold at the stores that day is collected nightly in a refrigerated truck and delivered to local food banks. In the program’s first year, 3 million meals were given to food banks.

8. Bring a homemade loaf of bread and leave it with a note by the front door of a friend going through a hard time – or just to brighten their day.

9. Drop off a donation of new, thick socks or blankets to your local homeless shelter.

10. Invite a college student who can’t get home for the holidays to take a study break and join you for a meal. Starbucks is determined to help make a college education possible for eligible partners working 20 hours a week or more through the Starbucks College Achievement Program (in partnership with Arizona State University) and the Pathway to Admission program.

11. Send a card or reach out to someone who lost a loved one this year and share a favorite memory or give them a special ornament. It'll mean more than you know.

12. Bring a simple coffee or a meal to your local police or fire station and get to know them. Lasting relationships have been formed out of regular Coffee with a Cop events at Starbucks around the country. And when Jen Do brought coffee to Houston’s first responders during Hurricane Harvey, she helped bring a community together.

13. Offer to take the time to teach someone how to compost and build a compost bin. It’s good for the environment and can help you grow a robust garden. (You can also get free coffee Grounds for Your Garden at participating Starbucks.)

14. Help a deployed member of the military feel closer to home by sending a card, letter or care package. A number of organizations can help you get started or, beginning Nov. 9, Starbucks stores will offer cards that can be sent to soldiers. Many Starbucks stores partner with troops overseas through Adopt-a-unit programs

15. Get to know a refugee family who is new to your area and trade traditions. Doing exactly that transformed a community in Missoula, Mont., when they welcomed refugees to their area.

16. On World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), consider buying (RED). Many retailers, including Starbucks, donate a portion of the proceeds that day to benefit HIV/AIDS prevention, education and treatment programs.

17. Stop and listen for a whole song performed by a street musician, clap loudly no matter how good (or not) it was – and then drop a few bills into the guitar case. You’ll make both of you feel good.

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New Starbucks merch honors disability community with a message of care