Published: May 24, 2021
Starbucks Raises Its Hand Year-Round to Support & Connect MilFams Through Their Sacrifices
Separation is an inevitable part of military life. Between deployments, temporary duty assignments, and moves, military families are constantly saying goodbye to loved ones—whether it’s their service members, or their friends and family. In fact, time away from family is consistently a top five issue for military families year after year, according to Blue Star Families’ Military Family Lifestyle Survey. It’s no wonder why because it can make life very isolating and lonely at times.
Jessica, an Air Force spouse and mom to five-year-old twins, understands those feelings. At the beginning of their marriage, Jessica’s husband was gone 150-200 days out of each year due to temporary duty assignments. In the last three years alone, her family has gone through two deployments and a handful of shorter separations. “Especially in the beginning, before I knew many people and knew what kind of resources were available to our military families, I felt very alone,” Jessica shared.
But Jessica understands firsthand that if she feels stressed at home, it’s harder for her husband to focus on the mission. She knew she needed to find resources to create connections and build a community to support her through each deployment and move. With the help of Blue Star Families and Starbucks, Jessica could do just that. “Participating in these [Blue Star Families] programs have helped build morale, relationships, friendships, and community,” Jessica said. “They allow us to bring military families together; to interact with our civilian community. We have had opportunities to educate each other and build friendships that are so important to surviving military life.”
Being able to make that kind of an impact is so important. Based on findings from the 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, we know that, while 46% of active-duty service member respondents feel a sense of belonging to their unit or command, only 27% of active-duty family respondents feel a sense of belonging to their local civilian community. In today’s modern military, a large percentage of families live within the civilian community, not on the installation. To empower family members to feel fulfilled at home, we need to ensure they feel connected to their civilian neighbors.
In Jessica’s case, that sense of connection makes all the difference when facing multiple deployments and separations in a short period of time. “To be able to come into a Starbucks store and host a safe event for our military families means everything,” she said. “Starbucks is a place to gather and connect. We have so many good memories from Blue Star Families events at Starbucks. The Yellow Ribbon Tree project is my favorite event of the year. Each tree honors not only deployed service members but also their families. This past year, my girls and I set out to decorate three Yellow Ribbon Trees in our local community; one at a Starbucks on base, and two at Starbucks stores in our civilian community.
Jessica went on to share, “My husband was deployed this past holiday season, along with a few of our friends. It meant so much for my family to be able to honor them by writing their names on ornaments that were displayed on each Yellow Ribbon Tree.”
What Starbucks does to support military families like Jessica’s all year round goes above and beyond to not just make them feel welcome, but also appreciated and connected. Blue Star Families, in partnership with Starbucks, has hosted more than 1,500 events (like this one) and reached 1.5M military-connected individuals. Through this enduring relationship with Starbucks, Blue Star Families can continue its mission to empower military families by building strong communities of support around them, improving mission readiness and enhancing their sense of “belonging” to where they live.
And, in honor of Military Appreciation Month this May, Starbucks is raising its hand, again, to help. This time, though, they’re calling upon our civilian neighbors to join them in showing gratitude and support for all YOU (our military members and families) do to keep us going via an eGift Card Giveback. For every Military eGift Card purchased May 1-31, Starbucks will donate $5, split evenly between Blue Star Families and Operation Gratitude, to support our military community’s mental health and well-being.
Together, we’re here to serve you and remind you that “we’re here for you.” You always have a place where you belong—no matter where you are on your journey.
If you haven’t done so already, join our community to be the first to hear about our Starbucks Coffee Connect events (and so much more) here.