Starbucks Supports Canadian Veterans with Cashless Fundraising and Free Coffee

The Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund

This year, Starbucks Canada is offering customers virtual opportunities to donate to The Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund

In support of Canadian veterans and military communities, Starbucks Canada is introducing digital, cashless opportunities for customers and partners (employees) to donate to The Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund and The Legion National Foundation.

Starting October 30 to November 12, customers can donate to the Poppy Fund at the cafe register (no purchase required), through Starbucks donation page on MyPoppy.ca, or through the link in the Starbucks app. Customers who donate in store will receive a poppy, while online donors will receive a digital poppy that they can dedicate in memory of a veteran, download and share.

The move to cashless fundraising is part of Starbucks efforts to prioritize the health and well-being of its partners and customers amid the second wave of COVID-19 in Canada. Starbucks has continued to adapt its safety precautions and protocols to meet, and in some cases exceed, the guidance of public health and government agencies. This includes elevated cleaning and sanitizing protocols in stores and requiring all partners and customers to wear facial coverings in all cafe locations. (For a more in-depth list of Starbucks precautionary measures, click here.)

Serving those who serve

Starbucks is proud to support Canadian veterans, currently serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and military families and honour the commitment and sacrifices these brave men and women have made for our country. For more than five years, Starbucks Canada has provided free coffees to veterans on Remembrance Day and will continue that offer this year.

On November 11, anyone identifying as a veteran, currently serving CAF member or military spouse will be treated with a free tall (354 ml) hot brewed coffee at Starbucks.

Coffee with a Vet

Starbucks has always provided a welcoming Third Place for customers. Since 2016, Starbucks has provided much-needed meeting places for one-on-one networking, mentoring meetings, and panel discussions to support veterans in their reintegration process as part of its Coffee with a Vet program.

In collaboration with the True Patriot Love Foundation (TPL), a national charity supporting military families, and Treble Victor (3V), an organization that helps ex-military leaders achieve their full potential in the marketplace, Starbucks Canada launched its Coffee with a Vet program with the goal of helping veterans successfully transition into the civilian workforce.

Through conversations over coffee, the program helps veterans develop an understanding of how their military skills could translate into civilian jobs and provides them with contacts that could lead to employment and support services. 

Before COVID-19, Coffee with a Vet events took place as frequently as once a quarter in Toronto and Ottawa, with plans to expand to Montreal. The majority of events involved panel discussions where corporate leaders who are also ex-military members would talk about their experience reintegrating.

“This collaboration has really allowed Starbucks and 3V to get outside their circles and bring people together in a really cool way,” said Joel Watson, veteran-turned-lawyer, academic and consultant who now heads corporate outreach for 3V. “Being a veteran is still something people aren’t comfortable sharing, so having veterans listening to a panel of CEOs and leaders — who are also veterans — sharing their stories of how they overcame obstacles and applied leadership skills is really eye-opening. We hope Coffee with a Vet can help break the stigma against veterans and also educate the public on the value veterans can bring to the marketplace.”

The Coffee with a Vet program was temporarily paused amid the pandemic but will soon be restarting as a virtual program. Coffee with a Vet will also expand to more cities across the country as was originally planned prior to COVID-19. This includes cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Fredericton, and Halifax.

Customers who wish to join Starbucks in supporting Canadian veterans and military communities, can donate to The Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund. Funds raised will directly support Canadian veterans and their families.

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