Starbucks in the news
If you’ve been online this week reading news or social media, you’ve likely come across legions of posts about Starbucks. While that unicorn frappuccino did look enticing, the latest, coolest, Starbucks news has nothing to do with their brightly colored beverages.
Instead, it announces the launch of Starbucks’ “military family stores.”
Starbucks newest launch
“Military Family Stores” are staffed primarily by veterans and military spouses as part of Starbucks effort to employ service member and their families nationwide.
So far, 37 of these stores have been launched.
Located near military bases, all of these stores offer the same thing: a warm atmosphere, thick with familiar military feelings (like Starbucks mugs with the logo “Proudly serving those who’ve served”), and support for military groups such as Blue Star Families, Team Red White and Blue, and Tragedy Assistant Programs for Survivors. Many of these stores also offer “Military Mondays;” a collaboration between local veteran service organizations and Starbucks that offers pro bono legal support and other veteran and military spouse services at the company’s stores.
Starbucks stated in their recent press release that they plan to dedicate 100 more military stores across the U.S. over the next five years.
These stores focus on, “helping to create a culture of understanding between military and non-military customers – an important step toward ensuring service men and women experience smooth transitions back into the civilian world.”
Why it matters
More than 453,000 veterans were unemployed in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many of these veterans are also homeless. Can you imagine serving your country, being discharged, and then having nowhere to go because you have no family, no paycheck, and no idea what you might like to do with the rest of your life?
If your life has been focused on your service and training, deciding what the next step should be can be scary.
While VA hospitals and counseling centers are available to veterans, they are often overcrowded, underfunded, and unable to keep up with the many veterans who need quality care.
A sense of community
Veterans and their families need a place to go for support and comradery. For many veterans, once their service is over, they feel lost because they no longer have that familiar connection to those who have similar experiences and backgrounds. Oftentimes, this can lead to isolation, depression, and the worsening of service and battle-related illnesses and conditions. Starbucks has long been hailed as a favorite hangout for students and businesspeople, so it seems like a logical step for Starbucks to be a preferred spot for veterans to come and connect.
Starbucks is making their “Military Family Stores” about more than just connecting, however.
The company committed to hiring 25,000 veteran and military spouses by 2025 and this seems to be a large stepping stone towards that goal. John Kelly, a Starbucks senior vice president stated to Fox News, “service members and military spouses are the best example of engaged citizens. Long after leaving active duty, they continue to vote, volunteer, and serve their communities at a high rate, serving as the best examples of citizenships. We are honored to serve as a place where these American heroes can continue to impact their community in a positive way.”
My favorite part of Starbucks’ new program is the “Adopt a Military Unit” program. Stores participating in this program sponsor military units and send care packages to active duty military while they are deployed. There are so many soldiers that do not have someone to send them packages while they are deployed. Kudos to Starbucks for taking these steps to help provide for our service men and women, not only physically with jobs and care packages, but also with mental and emotional support by giving them a renewed sense of belonging and an outlet to express their experiences with people who will know all too well what they’ve been through – support is one of the best things you can offer anyone, especially someone who’s served.
[clickToTweet tweet=”It is nice to see @Starbucks making an effort to take care of our military families.” quote=”While this certainly isn’t a magical fix for the struggles many veterans face, it is nice to see such a large corporation making an effort to take care of our veterans who are so frequently forgotten.”]
If you or a veteran you know is struggling, please contact the Veteran’s Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat online to a counselor or send a confidential text message to 838255.