The Seattle-based coffee giant announced Tuesday that through Dec. 31 “any customer who identifies as a front-line responder to the COVID-19 outbreak” will receive a free tall brewed coffee, hot or iced.
“Our hope with this is to reignite the movement of gratitude and to show those on the front line how much they are appreciated,” Virginia Tenpenny, Starbucks vice president of global social impact, said in an interview with USA TODAY. “For us, we believe that one way we can do this is by offering a free cup of coffee.”
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The free coffee offer can be redeemed at Starbucks U.S. company-operated locations and select licensed stores.
It’s for doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, dentists, dental hygienists, mental health workers, active-duty military and hospital staff. (See the full list of who is eligible for the free coffee promotion below).
In the early days of the pandemic, Starbucks was one of the first companies to offer a freebie for those working on the front line. The company said it served more than 2 million free cups between March and the end of May.
“Hopefully other brands will join us in thinking about how can they use their platform to again show support,” Tenpenny said. “Little deposits in morale can really go a long way, just so that they feel the support from our community.”
The Starbucks Foundation has donated more than $1 million since March to support front-line responders with the delivery of personal protective equipment, essential medical items, care packages and handwritten letters as well as mental health resources.
In July, Starbucks started requiring customers and employees to wear face masks when they enter stores. Other businesses followed Starbucks with mask policies including Walmart and Target.
Who is eligible for Starbucks freebie
Starbucks says those eligible for the free tall coffee offer are front-line health care providers and first responders include: doctors, nurses, public health workers, pharmacists, dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, dentists and dental hygienists, mental health workers (therapist, psychologist, social worker, counselor, etc.), hospital staff such as janitors, housekeeping/security, and active-duty military.
Starbucks contest starts Tuesday
Also on Tuesday, Starbucks launches its annual “Starbucks for Life” contest. Through Jan. 4, prizes totaling nearly $3 million are up for grabs, according to the official rules.
Starbucks Rewards members can enter the contest for a chance to win one of five grand prizes – free drinks daily for 30 years, worth about $61,242 apiece.
Other prizes include a freebie at Starbucks daily for shorter periods of time, including a year, six months, three months and a month. Bonus stars, free drinks and discounts also will be awarded. Stars turn into free drinks and food items in the loyalty program.
Gameplays are earned on eligible purchases at participating stores with the Starbucks app or registered gift card. You can get a maximum of two plays per day plus bonus opportunities to earn additional plays.
Rewards members also can request “free entries” on the website without making a purchase.
Learn more about the contest and find contest terms at www.starbucksforlife.com.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko