Morgan Hill residents are adding money to Starbucks gift cards at locations around town as a way of thanking emergency services personnel.
Any time a police officer, firefighter, veteran or first responder orders a drink, a gift card is swiped and their order is free.
"Our first responders have been there and taken care of business and our community is constantly telling them thank you," said Lynn Will, who first placed each card at the coffee shops. "I thought this was just a little way to reach out and do it one step more and say thank you and here’s a cup of coffee, on me."
Will purchased the cards on December first, intending for the cards to be used until money ran out. But the next day was the mass shooting in San Bernardino, and after that she "wanted it to really take off." She asked for donations on a Facebook community page and fellow residents have been donating ever since.
Over $1,400 has been placed on cards at five Starbucks around the neighborhood, and over 200 transactions have been made. Even a local Girl Scouts troop has donated money to the gift cards.
Morgan Hill residents can approach an employee at the register and ask to donate to the gift card. Whether a first responder or veteran orders coffee or lunch, it doesn't matter. Employees simply swipe the gift card and their order is free.
"As long as the cards have a balance on them I’ll keep them going," Will said.
Some Starbucks employees say they’ve been able to serve many free drinks to first responders, and they appreciate being able to help serve those who help keep the community safe.
First responders have reached out via social media to thank the community for the donations.
There are now copycat cards. Residents in Santa Clara have placed card at Starbucks, as well as cities in southern California. Will’s brother in Memphis, Tennessee has placed gifts cards in his community as well.