Starbucks and Feeding America Help the Hungry

My wife and I used to take time out during the day to regularly “expresso” ourselves at our local Starbucks. That all stopped during with the pandemic. This week, during a break from working on GrantWatch, we finally got the nerve to go inside our local coffee shop. After more than a year’s absence, I was excited to find that I still had money left to spend on my Starbucks app.

After ordering our lattes, I noticed a sign that read, “Food from this store supports FEEDING SOUTH FLORIDA.”

That was music to my ears because I would cringe whenever a restaurant owner or caterer would throw out perfectly good sandwiches and prepared food products, just because they did not sell by the end of the workday.

Starbucks and Feeding America

Starbucks has partnered with the Feeding America Network throughout the United States. Feeding America, which started in 1979 as a clearinghouse for hunger-relief distribution, has flourished to become the largest domestic network of 200 food banks, serving meals throughout the country. This essential 40-year-old organization has partners with Fortune 500 companies, charities, government and regular folks to make a difference to millions of people.

Feeding America website explains that one in nine people face hunger. During the COVID-19 pandemic the statistics were even more daunting.

Local small farmers that usually sold their product to neighborhood restaurants were not able to find customers since the eateries were closed. When the pandemic reached Hawaii, small local farmers suffered and some were facing foreclosures. Tony Wong Cam has a small family third-generation farm in Wai’anee, Hawaii, that grows leafy vegetables, which includes green onions, cabbage, parsley and choy sum. This 40-acre family farm was in jeopardy of closing until Feeding America stepped in. 

Food banks were running low on food because donations were down, and demand at all the food banks was up. Hawaii Foodbank approached local farmers and received commitments from the farmers to sell their crops to the charity. They paid the farmers for their crops using the money they received as donations from partners and donors. Tony was able to sell them 21,000 pounds of choy.

“Thanks to Hawaii Foodbank, we kept planting, and we were able to keep our 35 employees working,” Cam said. “When COVID-19 hit, our operation of planting remained normal because we believed. We never stopped believing. And when Hawaii Foodbank wanted product, we were ready.”

Hawaii Foodbank has been supporting 19 local farms, while making fresh produce available to a community in need.

Starbucks Recovering

After suffering a massive financial hit in the last year and a half, Starbucks is well on its way to recovery and will soon be back to normal.

Unfortunately, some stores have permanently closed while others are on a path to reopening their doors.  Our local South Florida Starbucks has maintained outside seating and has now started to bring back indoor seating on a limited basis.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Starbucks is running short of basic supplies in places including cake pops, cup stoppers and mocha flavoring.

Ironically, after a massive advertising campaign, “Oatly Group AB” brand oat milk, which recently listed on the NASDAQ exchange, as an IPO (Initial Public Offering) (OTLY), announced a partnership with Starbucks.  The press release states … “as a result of the partnership, Oatly oat milk will be available year-round as part of Starbucks’ core U.S. menu.”

However, due to supply chain shortages, Oatly will probably not be available. This will negatively affect your order of Honey Oatmilk Latte and Brown Sugar Oatmilk Iced Shaken Expresso.

So, you may think you ordered a Grande Mocha Frappuccino. However, due to shortages and inventory problems, your flavor or cup size may not be available.  

Be prepared and do not be surprised if your barista serves you a Venti Carmel Cappuccino instead.  That would be a unique way to try out new flavors. 

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