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Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit that ships care packages to first responders, caregivers and servicemen and women, was able to ship more 60,000 packages to the men and women fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, in part because of a donation from Starbucks' charitable arm,
The Starbucks Foundation's $250,000 donation funded 50,000 of the packages, helping Operation Gratitude's achieve its goal of providing packages to more than 300,000 workers throughout the United States.
During the last few weeks, first responders and hospital workers in coronavirus hot spots throughout the nation received packages as an appreciation for their efforts during the unprecedented crisis. Those hard-hit areas include Mount Sinai Health Network and Elmhurst Hospital in New York, as well as locations in Seattle, New Orleans and Pennsylvania.
Last month, the coffee house chain announced it was earmarking hundreds of thousands of dollars for coronavirus relief, including a hefty donation to support Operation Gratitude's mission in sending care packages to those on the front lines of the harrowing pandemic.
“As the world grapples with an issue of enormous scale and human impact, we are dedicated to serving communities through the lens of Our Mission and Values: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time,” Starbucks Foundation board member John Kelly said earlier this month. “We believe that together we can make a difference and, together, we will overcome this unprecedented challenge.”
To date, the foundation has provided more than $5.5 million to support its global COVID-19 response efforts.
The effort also builds upon Starbucks' commitment to providing freshly brewed coffee to doctors, nurses, paramedics, police officers and firefighters.
The care packages were made possible because of more than 1.6 million donations, including Starbucks coffee, handwritten letters from Starbucks employees, and notes from volunteers at Operation Gratitude.
Starbucks has joined the list of companies using resources to support Operation Gratitude's "Coalition to Support COVID-19 Frontline Responders."
Every year, the non-profit works to send more than 300,000 individually addressed packages to American servicemen and women deployed overseas and their children, first responders, new recruits, veterans, wounded veterans and their caregivers.
The packages, which costs the organization roughly $15 to assemble and ship, contain snacks, hygiene products, entertainment, handmade items and support letters.
The nonprofit has already been able to deliver items to Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments and National Guardsmen in southern California and 30,000 items and more than 1,000 handwritten letters to the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington.
The organization is still seeking volunteers to write letters of support to front line workers.
"During this global pandemic, Operation Gratitude will continue to meet the ever-changing needs of our care package recipients," the organization said. "Join us, along with our partners at The Starbucks Foundation, to demonstrate that actions do speak louder than words and show our COVID-19 First Responders that as long as they continue to serve, we will continue to support them."
Volunteers can register to write a letter or offer support in other ways online.