With the help of Starbucks and marketing company Design & Source, Blue Star Families spread cheer to families who were missing their loved ones this holiday season.

In December at select Starbucks locations across the nation, special trees were set up and hundreds of Yellow Ribbon ornaments were provided for customers to personalize with the name of a loved one who was away from home for the holidays due to military service. The ornament design was inspired by the medallions at Starbucks Headquarters displayed for each Veteran or military family member hired by Starbucks.

At some locations, Starbucks and Blue Star Families worked together to host special events for military families.

At the Starbucks Military Family Store near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, Blue Star Families hosted a Cheer Party. Starbucks partners volunteered their time to help military children make a holiday craft while enjoying free hot chocolate, and each child was able to take home a book. While there, families also honored their deployed loved ones by hanging ornaments on the Yellow Ribbon tree.

In Fort Walton Beach, Florida, children enjoyed cookies, milk, and coloring pages while parents learned about Blue Star Families resources and took home “Everyone Serves” e-books. The Chapter Director had an extra tree and she was able to donate it to a family that had a deployed service member.  The family planned on setting up their own Yellow Ribbon tree in their home.

Near Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Blue Star Families hosted a Books on Bases event. Every military family who visited the store was able to personalize an ornament, enjoy free coffee and cookies courtesy of Starbucks, and take home a children’s book. Several families with deployed Soldiers attended the event and enjoyed leaving special messages on the tree. One Army spouse commented “It is so nice to have things like this to get the kids out of the house. It makes their dad being gone for the holidays a little bit easier.”

In DC, a team of caregivers volunteered to set up the tree and invite families to help decorate. In Jacksonville, Florida, volunteers worked to set up 7 trees in stores all over the area. In total, 22 trees were set up in Starbucks locations across the country with the help of Blue Star Families staff and volunteers.

Thank you to Design & Source, Starbucks, and our Blue Star Families volunteers for making this holiday season special for military families all over the country!

Authored by: Kate Oyer, Blue Star Families Volunteer Recognition Coordinator