Running late and still in need of that daily dose of caffeine? The Starbucks customer stops in for a cup of coffee not knowing she is contributing to their community and possibly other countries as well.

“We are a company that gives back. We recycle. We reuse a lot of products. We conserve a lot of energy,” Elizabeth Martin, a Starbucks barista, said.

In 2007, Starbucks conserved over 110,000 trees and enough energy to power 9,000 homes for year.

Martin is a Red Cross Disaster Action Team member, a Tyler Junior College student, a mom and a Starbucks employee. She has worked for Starbucks for almost a year, and currently works at the location on Rice Road and Broadway Avenue.

Starbucks emphasizes community service with their employees.

“If I’m at work and I have a fire or disaster call, I know that there is someone who would come in so I could go out there and help those people,” Martin said.

Starbucks has several opportunities for customers to participate in their mission to give back.

For example, when one pound of coffee is purchased, $1 is donated back to the country of origin. Their cups and coffee sleeves are made with 28 percent post consumer recycled content.

“You can come into our store and, while we are doing something good, through us you are doing something good,” Martin said.

Starbucks is just one of the many businesses in Tyler that gives back.

Brookshire’s Grocery Company contributes to the community in different ways. One of the ways Brookshires gives to Tyler is the Brookshire’s World of Wildlife Museum and Country Store located on Old Jacksonville Highway.

The museum and park is free to the public and popular among families.

The staff at Brookshires also goes into the community and works alongside local groups and organizations.

Brookshires community project for the last three months of 2008 was going out and helping with PATH’s Coats for Kids program. The employees passed out coats and did whatever PATH needed them to do.

The company is also supportive of organizations like the East Texas Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club of East Texas, The East Texas Crisis Center and several others.

“We are very supportive of causes that feed the hungry,” Sam Anderson, Brookshires customer and community relations director, said.

Café Tazza is a new business in Tyler located on Old Bullard Road that also believes community involvement is important. The biggest way Café Tazza gives back is through the arts.

On Thursday nights, artists can put their artwork on display free of charge.

“We don’t charge commission on their artwork. It all goes to them,” Jane Keller, owner of Café Tazza, said.

Café Tazza also contributes to the community by donating free coffee and other services to functions around Tyler.

Premier Fitness, located on Donnybrook Avenue in Tyler, is another business that is involved in community service.

Every year they put on a 5k fun run called the “Turkey Truck”, a event facilitated by premier employees that volunteer their time, along with Boys and Girls Club volunteers. All of the proceeds’ go to the benefit of Boys and Girls Club. Cune Pena, the owner of Premier Fitness, is on the board of Boys and Girls Club.

Fiore across the street from Premier Fitness on Donnybrook Avenue is another local business in Tyler that gives back to the community.

The restaurant’s donations are normally in the form of meals, but they also participate in giving to school activities, and Junior League functions.

“Contributing to the community is very beneficial. It’s what makes a community good,” Jimmy Lynn the owner of several local restaurants, said.

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