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Coffee giant Starbucks (SBUX) will offer free coffee to frontline responders during December.
Starbucks stated that all stores will offer a free tall-brewed coffee to all frontline responders at its U.S. stores “to show appreciation for those keeping our communities safe during COVID-19.”
Coronavirus is currently surging across the U.S., with hospitalizations hitting a new high of at least 98,000 on Tuesday. At least 261,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, so far in 2020. Experts expect a very difficult winter before vaccines are distributed to the general population next year.
“It has been an extraordinarily difficult year, especially for the front-line responders who are serving our communities. We want to show our deep gratitude for those who support and protect us every day with a small gesture of kindness and a cup of coffee,” Virginia Tenpenny, Starbucks vice president of global social impact said in a statement.
Customers would need to identify as a frontline responder — which includes “doctors, nurses, public health workers, pharmacists, dispatchers, fire fighters, paramedics, EMTs, law enforcement officers, dentists and dental hygienists, mental health workers (therapist, psychologist, social worker, counselor), hospital staff such as janitor/housekeeping/security, military on active duty, contact tracers, vaccine and pharmaceutical researchers, pilots, flight attendants, TSA, and medical researchers.”
There’s no limit to the offer, the company told CBS News, and those who qualify can claim the beverage as many times as they want until the deal ends.
Starbucks also announced that it would donate $100,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness to provide virtual mental health resources for the responders. The coffee company will also send out 50,000 care packages and Starbucks gift cards to front-line responders this holiday season.
In April, the company gave $2 million in free cups of coffee to front responders, as well as donations of care packages, gift cards, and K-Cup pod donations while the first surge of cases hit the Northeast.
Julia La Roche contributed to this report.