Submitted by: Mark A. Venuti
Many customers of Starbucks in Bedford may have recently noticed changes in artwork inside the store displaying a military theme. In honor of Veterans Day – on Monday afternoon, November 12, 2018 — the Bedford Starbucks was dedicated as the company’s 52nd Military Family Store.
The purpose and perks of a coffee shop are to provide a community center by bringing together all members of the public. Through this Military Family Store concept, the Bedford Starbucks will enhance that community feeling by furthering the relationship between the town of Bedford residents and the Hanscom and Veterans Administration communities.
As a Military Family Store [MFS], the Bedford Starbucks will be the epicenter of military family contacts representing and facilitating their fellow corporate coffee shops’ community involvement in its district and nearby districts. Bedford was selected with this honor in part to its proximity to Hanscom Air Force Base and the Veterans Administration – and led by the dedicated efforts of Sarah Jensen, Starbucks Bedford’s store manager, and military spouse.
Jensen presided over the dedication in the midst of regular store activity as the shop was filled to capacity surpassing a weekday morning rush hour. The dedication began with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and a presentation of a guidon – a flag on display that states the store has been dedicated as the 52nd MFS. To add literal flavor, the event included a coffee tasting, a ceremonial presentation of embroidered aprons by a member of the Hanscom Spouses Club to two military spouses and Starbucks partners; as well as an explanation of the concept of a Military Family Store. The event was attended by Starbucks’ district manager, regional manager, and store managers and employees from various Starbucks stores throughout Metro Boston.
Sarah Jensen educated and treated those on hand to a soothing coffee tasting process by demonstrating the four steps of coffee tasting – aroma, slurp, taste, and describe. The featured blend was Starbucks’ much anticipated seasonal Christmas Blend, which is roasted aged Sumatra coffee with added seasoning and spices. A cake was also served to complement the featured coffee.
The MFS concept will provide three aspects of volunteer work supporting veterans and spouses of veterans. The first is the Adopt a Unit concept which will consist of preparing care packages for deployed U.S. troop units throughout the world. The theme of each care package will be determined by the needs of the particular unit being focused on at that time. The needs can include food, clothing, and personal care items. The Bedford store will have a table set up describing each individual care package and an area for customers to place donated items. Once set up, the Adopt a Unit feature will function year round.
Another benefit is to provide military spousal support. Sarah Jensen worked with Starbucks corporate to arrange for a $10,000 grant to be allocated to the Hanscom Spouses Club, an organization that allows members to connect with fellow military spouses through charitable and welfare activities [www.hanscomsc.org. Although known as an Air Force Base, Hanscom services all branches of the military through donations and scholarships.
Also, the Bedford store plans on providing support for the Veterans Administration through a volunteer partnership program. Jensen’s personal objective for 2019 is to develop a system and schedule to provide volunteer work provided by Starbucks partners, otherwise known as store employees, in various areas at the VA Hospital in Bedford.
About Starbucks’ Corporate Commitment to the Military
Starbucks has a long-standing commitment to hiring veterans and military spouses who play a vital role in strengthening our communities and the company through leadership, service and civic engagement. In 2013 the company announced a commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses in five years. It met that goal early with more than 17,000 to date and now aims to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2025. Through its partnerships, Starbucks’ goal is to be the leading corporate advocate and voice for transitioning veterans, military spouses and military families. [www.starbucks.com]