Store manager Angela Floyd keeps a tree up all year at her Starbucks to benefit a different local nonprofit each month. Both customers and store partners pitch in to help.
Last winter, shortly after joining Starbucks as a store manager in Oakland Gardens in Queens, New York, Angela Floyd put up a holiday tree in her store lobby, decorating it with scarves, gloves and hats which she donated to a local shelter at the end of the season. Liking the festive feel and community spirit, she decided to keep the tree up year-round.
“Each month, we pick a different nonprofit in the community to drive donations to,” Angela says. “It became our giving tree.”
The tree is decorated to bring attention to the cause of the month, with fliers nearby, and store partners and customers pitch in to help. In the past year, Angela has organized toy drives for the Ronald McDonald House and party supplies donations for Birthday Wishes Long Island, an organization that provides birthday parties for children experiencing homelessness. She’s used the tree to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement and this winter, she plans to focus on food drives.
“I get a lot of conversations with customers about who I can work with next,” she says.
As fall began, a close friend referred her to a group called The Keys to Unlock Your Silence, a local nonprofit in Jamaica, Queens, dedicated to providing comfort, support and resources for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Angela’s team and her customers – including several teachers – gathered and donated about $1,000 worth of backpacks and school supplies for families working with the nonprofit. Angela also helped secure a $2,500 Neighborhood Grant from The Starbucks Foundation for the organization in recognition of its role in promoting more inclusive and strong communities.
“These women and children are coming from homes that are broken and they’re dealing with so much personally,” Angela says. “Not necessarily having dealt with domestic violence, not myself personally, but knowing people that have gone through it, I just wanted to be a part of something to give them something that can help.”
Angela, 37, has been working in retail for about 12 years, managing a restaurant in midtown Manhattan before joining Starbucks. The connections she’s been able to make with local community nonprofits through her store’s giving tree have been “a huge development piece for me,” she says.
At one point in her life, she was a single mother with young children. She can relate to the mission of many of the groups she works with, in that she too felt vulnerable because of life circumstances, “not knowing where that help was going to come from.”
“Being a good neighbor really means at the end of the day, it means we’re in this together,” Angela says. “We may not have the same viewpoints or financial means, but just remember, everyone’s going through something. Sometimes it’s the little things that are the biggest reminders that we all deserve to be respected, remembered, looked after and celebrated.
“It could be a hello. It could be holding the door. We all need that interaction and that connection.”