Starbucks Coffee for the Troops

A Monday morning, an e-mail about donations of coffee for troops serving overseas, a simple feel-good story, right?

Yeah right. Feel-good, yes. Simple, no such luck.

Shortly, we’ll have a story on the Web site about Bernice Maxfield, a Belfair resident who has collected donations of Starbuck’s coffee to send to military troops serving overseas. Maxfield’s son, Army Sgt. Daryl Johnson, is serving his second tour in Iraq.

I called the manager of the Belfair Starbucks, who is Maxfield’s contact for the donations. She referred me to the Starbucks public relations office. No surprise there. But a representative of the corporation said she could give “no additional details about the program.” End of statement.

A link on the Starbucks Web site called “rumor response” hints at a possible reason for the coyness.

Apparently Starbucks is still doing damage control on a rumor from 2004 that the socially conscious coffee giant does not support U.S. military troops. In the link, USMC Sgt. Howard C. Wright, retracts an e-mail statement he made to that effect.

An accompanying corporate statement lists examples of troop support, including a relationship with the American Red Cross in which Starbucks has donated more than 100,000 pounds of coffee for military personnel in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. The statement also mentions policies related to pay, health care and job security for partners (employees) who are serving in the military.

Starbucks, whose corporate policies on social justice and the environment could reasonably be described as left-leaning, appears to be dealing with the same conundrum facing individual Americans who want to express support of the troops without overtly endorsing the war.

A link from CNN’s Web site shows the following poll results on American attitudes toward the Iraq War:

In a Newsweek poll that asked, “All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting, or not?” 63 percent of those who responded said it wasn’t worth the costs.

Fifty-four percent of those who responded to a Pew Research Center poll said they thought the U.S. made the wrong decision in using military force against Iraq.

Fifty-eight percent of people in a CBS News New York Times Poll said in hindsight, they believed the U.S. should not have taken military action in Iraq.”

Maxfield said the current climate of anti-war sentiment makes it hard on military personnel. Her son got leave to return home in December for the birth of his daughter and was surprised to receive a hero’s welcome on a connecting flight in Dallas. Passengers on the flight gave him and his fellow soldiers a rousing round of applause. Johnson said it was the first time he’s received such treatment and it moved him deeply, his mother said. Johnson and his comrades in Iraq also were heartened by messages of encouragement and thanks donors wrote on the bags of coffee they received.

“I just think it’s neat in a time where’s there’s a lot of negativity about the war that people are still supporting our guys over there,” Maxfield said. “I don’t think there’s enough being said.”

Maxfield said she would welcome inquiries from military families, organizations or individuals willing to help distribute the bags of whole bean coffee. The cost for shipping is $10.95 for an eight-pound box plus a grinder. Maxfield has approached Walmart about donating grinders.
Contact Maxfield at (360) 340-4779 or at Security Financial Services, 1341 Bay St., Port Orchard.

2 thoughts on “Starbucks Coffee for the Troops

  1. Ok this is all nice and good and stuff but how does she think the guys/girls are gonna grind those beans?? Is she sending a grinder along as well?? Hmmmmmm??!!

  2. Donna – See the last paragraph of the post: she is sending grinders and was hoping to have some donated by Walmart.

    Good point though. We buy whole bean coffee and grind it fresh every day. We have been known to petition our nice neighbors who have a generator when the power goes out. Thanks Bob & Ann.

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