Millions enjoy Starbucks as their "third place" to commune with friends and collaborate with others. Being able to connect to free Wi-Fi at Starbucks provides an incredible tool for business, but it also is a lifeline for the homeless, the tens of thousands of invisible people who depend on Starbucks as their only place to keep warm, safe and dry.
Imagine walking into your local Starbucks and being able to use your smartphone and Twitter to tweet your Starbucks Card “Star” points to help the homeless people right in your neighborhood. What if every time you loaded your Starbucks card you could add a dollar to go right to the hyper local resource pool which serves the homeless in that store.
I was once one of the thousands of homeless people who depended upon Starbucks. I was homeless last winter and my gold Starbucks card kept me warm, safe and dry. It also helped me utilize social media to, in very small ways, help the lives other homeless people. Being able to access the Internet and tweet with my smart phone, which was paid for by a wonderful friend, while enjoying a warm cup of coffee at Starbucks, was crucial for my survival and eventually helped me end my homelessness.
Thus we are calling on Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks, to partner with local community organizations and the global Twitter community to make Starbucks an even better place for those in the homeless community who depend upon it. Such a connection would foster a tighter bond between Starbucks customers, employees, social service agencies and the homeless themselves.
We have the means, the technology and the compassion to do it, and it's time to mobilize.
Read my letter to Howard Shultz in the Huffington Post