Starbucks employees and customers clean up Gas Works Park in Seattle.

Today was a huge community service day at Gas Works Park, sponsored by Starbucks.  On July 5th,  for several years in a row, Starbucks employees and customers have turned out in massive numbers to pick up litter left behind by the crowds of Seattleites who pour into Gas Works (and the immediate surrounding streets) for a great view of Independence Day fireworks over Lake Union.

And Seattleites leave behind quite a mess.  I can’t believe how many empty beer cans I picked up this morning.  It was hard work.  I arrived early and saw the initial sign up area:

I actually arrived a little too early, but I wasn’t sure of how crowded it would be so I figured better early than late.  Actually, I took a blue plastic bag for recycling and headed to a nearby area and picked up bottles.  Then I headed back to the check in, looking for two people I had hoped to meet up there.

As is tradition, Starbucks provided great t-shirts for everyone to wear:

I wanted a good photo of the backside of the shirts.  Before I met up with my friends, I approached a handsome stranger and said, “Do you mind if I take a picture of your back?”  He was totally obliging.  He didn’t even ask why, and just said, “sure.”  I have no idea who this kind model was for the photo to show off the back of the shirts – but a big thank you to him!

Pretty soon, more volunteers poured in, and I found my two friends (Jonathan and Mindi) whom I’d planned to pick up litter with.

The three of us must have walked several miles.  We returned with a huge bag of trash, and a huge bag of recyclables.  It seemed like there was way more trash than last year.  As a group, Starbucks partners and customers picked up a lot of trash!

By the way, as we were out picking up litter, Jonathan found a little “Jesus” mini license plate charm.  We joked that Jonathan had managed to “find Jesus” during community service:

I wasn’t initially planning on writing a blog post on this day, but I decided to for two main reasons.  First, I think it’s important that Seattleites know how much Starbucks gives back to this town.  Seattle IS Starbucks’ home town, and so Starbucks really does do a lot to try to give back to Seattle, and this is a good example.  Secondly, we could have used more volunteers.  This year, unlike last year, my understanding is that Starbucks sponsored two separate clean up events.  The other one was at the south end of Lake Union.  There were noticeably fewer people at Gas Works this year, and that clearly is because volunteers were split up between the two sites.  I only visited the Gas Works Park clean up, so I can’t speak to how busy or crowded the South Lake Union neighborhood event was.

If you want to get involved in community service through Starbucks-arranged events, check out their community service website:

When the community service was over, Mindi, Jonathan, and I walked down to the edge of Gas Works Park and chatted and admired the view of  the city across Lake Union.  What a gorgeous day.  I really do love Seattle.  (I know there are beautiful places everywhere, but I just have a crazy love for this city.)  Take a look at the view:

Hope to see you there next year!





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  • Purple1

    Melody seems like you had a great day and again SB was visible in their home community. Great tee shirt – you must have a nice collection. I still marvel
    At how visible SB is in certain locales and quiet in other places. Sitting at my local SB now as I am writing this and many customers in and out.

  • Starbucks Dave

    Wow, posts like this really make me wish I lived and worked in Seattle. Did you see any Starbucks famous faces again this year Mel?

  • Melody

    @Purple1 – Hahaha! Yes, I do have quite a few Starbucks t-shirts now!
    @Dave – No, surprisingly, I knew almost no one at this event. Since the “south lake union” clean up on the other side was the new clean up, I suspect that any famous faces were over there. There were a ton of DMs, an RD, and a few others that I thought I would run into, and I saw almost no one I knew. I was still quite happy – I was there to do clean up, but this year was very different than last. Also, at the end of last year, Starbucks lunch was provided, and many people sat together and ate, but this year there was no lunch just a $5 gift card. Many people got their card and left. I would have rathered the social time. And come relocate to Seattle anytime Dave!

  • starbuckseditor

    I enjoyed this post very much.
    It is easy to feel your love for Seattle, and experience your dedication.
    I know this blog is a labor of love for you, and from talking to many Seattle Starbucks partners, you put LOTS of your personal time into the visits and photos and keeping up with Starbucks news, just to benefit us readers.

    Starbucks is very community, and environmentally involved in their other regions too.
    I participated in several community planting and clean-up events when I lived in New York. Volunteers, t-shirts, lunch, socialization, and the mobile Starbucks truck were there. Great time mixing with all levels of Starbucks management, getting dirty and raking or shoveling like the rest of us. Fast forward 15 years, it is good to hear they are still at it with enthusiasm. Thanks Melody, from all of us……

  • tim sandor

    I wish our local shop did something like this. They are not big to talk about stuff they are doing in the community. Iwould love to. The last they did was the race for the cure 3 years ago. THey haven’t done it since.

  • BCav

    I really need to get involved more in my community. All the activities in Seattle sound so much more fun… and cooler! Tooooo hot here! Ha! But this was inspiring for getting involved.

  • Melody

    @Starbuckseditor – That was the sweetest comment. Thank you. And I’m glad you got to participate in Starbucks facilitated community service. Thank you! I have to admit that little moments of these kinds of comments (and/or emails) help me stay motivated. @BCav – Where you are, you probably have to only do community service in the winter! LOL. Thank you for the great comment. :)

  • Kristin

    Kudos to starbucks for the efforts to keep the environment clean. I wish I were in seattle, I could have been part of the community service. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Barb the French Bean

    This post brought a smile to my face. I do like it when companies help out the community in such a way. That last photo makes me want to visit Seattle someday. :)

    (I had quite a chuckle at the “find Jesus” bit!)

  • Suzanne C

    Melody, I have said it before and I will say it again – You are a good person!

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