Published: May 3, 2021
PRESS RELEASE- for immediate release
Operation Gratitude, Blue Star Families, and Starbucks Join Forces to Support Military Mental Health and Bring Communities Together
We don’t have to tell you that 2020 was an unprecedented year. Between the (ongoing) pandemic and its physical, social, and economic toll, and the civil unrest that sparked deep and challenging conversations about racial injustice, very few people made it through the year unscathed by new, complex, and unanticipated stressors.
The added stress and anxiety of these unprecedented times have exacerbated pre-existing challenges and created new ones for service members and their families. According to Blue Star Families’ 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey (MFLS), 62 percent of active-duty spouse respondents said COVID-19 had made their mental health worse or much worse. Sixteen percent of active duty service member respondents and 23 percent of spouse respondents reported having a current diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. There’s a disconnect between saying “thank you for your service,” and true empathy and understanding of the sacrifices made by military families.
It’s for these reasons that Operation Gratitude and Blue Star Families partner with organizations like Starbucks, to better mental health and resiliency outcomes for our Armed Forces and why, in honor of Military Appreciation Month, the three of us have joined forces to support the mental health and well-being of the military community.
Blue Star Families provides programming to help military families connect with their communities, addressing the isolation that can be brought about by frequent moves and deployments, while the mission behind Operation Gratitude is to forge strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide.
Last year, Operation Gratitude and Starbucks assisted in impacting thousands of deployed troops, including service members in South Korea and Guam whose homecomings were delayed by the pandemic. Operation Gratitude and Starbucks worked together to assemble care packages that contained coffee and snacks, personal hygiene products, and comforting reminders of home like handmade paracord bracelets and handwritten letters of appreciation from grateful Americans. These acts of kindness also impacted military families left behind, lifting their spirits and their mental health and well-being.
In addition, Blue Star Families and Starbucks thanked thousands on Military Spouse Appreciation Day with Starbucks eGift cards, put up hundreds of Yellow Ribbon Trees in Starbucks Stores during the holidays, and delivered dozens of handmade Valentine’s Day cards to service members and their families with their coffee orders. These meaningful acts of benevolence supported military families’ mental health and well-being by giving them a sense of belonging to their local communities wherever the mission has taken them.
For those interested in showing support for the military community during Military Appreciation Month, customers can purchase a Starbucks Military eGift card from May 1-31, and Starbucks will donate $5 to Blue Star Families and Operation Gratitude to further support the mental health of the military community. Donations will be divided evenly between the two organizations.
During this symbolic month of May, and in response to current times, it’s our mission to do everything possible to give military families and veterans the support, information, tools, and, most importantly, a place to belong as we wade through unchartered territory, together. When we as a nation serve those who serve, we can create vibrant communities of mutual support. We’re all stronger when we take care of one another.
About Operation Gratitude:
Operation Gratitude’s mission is to forge strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide. In March of 2003, Operation Gratitude sent its first four care packages to deployed service members in Iraq. Since its inception, the organization has given millions of Americans the opportunity to go a step beyond saying “thank you for your service” through hands-on volunteerism, lifting the spirits of more than 3.2 million deployed troops, recruit graduates, veterans, military families, first responders and healthcare heroes. For more information visit OperationGratitude.com, or follow us on Twitter at @OpGratitude.
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families is the nation’s largest grass-roots military family support organization, with a mission to support military families to improve military readiness. Its distinctive approach builds stronger communities around military families through knowledge and programs that address the unique needs of those who serve. Blue Star Families’ nationally recognized surveys and analysis give military families an important voice that informs policymakers and its military family programs. It uses the power of its collective resources and cross-sector collaborations to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of members of military families to strengthen the troops, their families, and our nation as a whole. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org.
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with nearly 33,000 stores worldwide, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at stories.starbucks.com or www.starbucks.com.