The COVID-19 pandemic left no household untouched or unaffected. Daisy Guillen understood this, but saw that as much hardship that the global pandemic brought, there could be just as much generosity to spread. As a Starbucks Community Champion, Daisy raised funds, food and hygiene kits for struggling community members throughout 2020 as a volunteer. At Starbucks, she continues to go out of her way to support individuals and families fighting for their basic needs with thousand dollar grants.
“One of the first things that I wanted to do when coming to Long Beach was to really showcase what Starbucks can do,” said Daisy. “I’ve never really needed anything, and the least that I could do is give my time to others.”
Community Champions, like Daisy, are Starbucks employees who are nominated by senior leadership. Now, Daisy is a store manager and can nominate baristas who exemplify company values of service and generosity as champions. “It’s like creating a beacon of hope within my team and leading more community involvement,” Daisy said.
“One of the biggest things that Starbucks does is have a positive social and economic impact in our communities, and early on when I went to my first Starbucks volunteer event, it really spoke to me,” Daisy said, who has been at the company at different California storefronts for 16 years.
She works at a Starbucks storefront that’s considered a community store, which receives various grants to give to its communities and organizations with the hope of creating positive social and economic impacts. Twice a year, Daisy and her team distribute funds to nonprofit organizations that are nominated for Starbucks Foundation grants.
“Daisy truly embodies what it means to be a Community Champion through servant leadership. She not only volunteers her time to local nonprofits but is the catalyst for inspiring her team, her peers and her leaders to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond,” said Anthony Rodriguez, Daisy’s former district manager and current mentor.
“She does this through advocacy and allyship in her local community and virtually supports community leaders across the country,” he added.
Most recently, Daisy’s team selected the Women’s Shelter of Long Beach — a nonprofit organization that has worked to eliminate domestic violence through compassionate intervention, education and personal empowerment since the 1970’s — for a thousand dollar grant. Eventually, they were able to raise $10,000 for the shelter, and delivered the surprise funds with a giant, movie-like check.
“One of the biggest things that my parents instilled in me is just being kind to others,” said Daisy. “It wasn’t until my first day at Starbucks that my heart felt that happiness of giving to others, and I saw what my own giving can do for others. It’s something that I love to do and I want to bring other people along with me on this journey.”
Daisy also helped nominate a local food pantry for a Starbucks Foundation grant that delivers food and social service education to those in need across Long Beach. Their team eventually nominated the highest number of nonprofit organizations for grants in their area of around 300 storefronts. Daisy’s store was ranked sixth in the nation for their nominations.
In her day to day, Daisy continuously fundraises to give hygiene kits to people experiencing homelessness in her community, especially those whose lives were turned upside down during the pandemic. She’s also committed to bringing the next generation of volunteers alongside with her by mentoring those around her.
She’s learned that it’s often easy to forget about others when you have a season of success, but the pandemic shook her to constantly have a mindset of looking for those who need help. Giving doesn’t always have to be a huge event, according to Daisy, it can be as easy as searching for a local nonprofit on the Internet to see what its biggest need is in your area.
Daisy always seeks out opportunities to give back, even if volunteerism wasn’t something that was on her agenda for her day or job. “I always tell everybody, you don’t always need to give money and you don’t need to give up a lot to help,” Daisy said.
“Kindness is the one thing that we can give in abundance and never run out of,” she added. “As a society, we never really know what’s going to happen next, but kindness can be spread like wildfire and the least that we can do is try to do better for others.”
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Daisy? Find local volunteer opportunities.
This post was written by Madi Donham. Points of Light collaborates with voices from various writers to help tell inspirational stories of leadership, volunteerism and civic engagement. We recognize that there are many ways to be civically engaged, as outlined in Points of Light’s Civic Circle, and we are grateful to our writers for helping us illustrate the impact of how everyday actions can change the world.