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Starbucks partners with Aspiranet to provide Christmas for foster youth
Aspiranet joins Starbucks to give back to at-risk youth and foster children this holiday season by encouraging Starbucks customers to buy a gift and return it to participating locations with the Aspiranet Christmas tree. - photo by Journal file photo

Starbucks is doing more to share the joy of the holidays than just changing their notorious cups to red.


With the help of Aspiranet, a human services agency, foster youth will receive gift donations from Starbucks customers through a joint effort of 268 participating store locations — including stores in Turlock.


“We are very grateful to Starbucks for its continuous support making sure the youth we serve are thought of and cared for throughout the holiday season,” said Vernon Brown, CEO of Aspiranet. “We encourage those who wish to donate to open their hearts to foster and at-risk youth of all ages this year.”


Participating locations will have a Christmas tree on display with gift tags hanging on the tree that describes the foster and at-risk youths’ gift wishes. Starbucks customers are encouraged to select a tag and bring back a gift wish of a child or teen in foster care, or at-risk youth.


“We always see the greatest need among our older youth between the ages of 10 and 17,” said Brown.


This is the seventh year that Starbucks has hosted this gift drive and it serves as a bridge between the generosity of the community and the holiday wishes of foster children.


“It’s really just a great way to give back and help someone during the holidays,” said Ashlee Irwin, Starbucks employee. “Everyone deserves a gift.”


This year, customers can donate online as well at to fulfill the needs of children and youth.


“These kids have it tough enough as it is,” Irwin added. “Anything we can do to make their Christmas better is something that can’t be passed up.”