'Angel Tree' at Long Beach coffee shop lets you donate to local veterans

Long Beach Coffee & Tea's Angel Tree program gives you the chance to buy a gift for a local veteran in need this holiday season.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Long Beach Coffee & Tea is brewing up more than lattes and cappuccinos this holiday season.

Owners Tom West and Shannon Francis are providing an opportunity to give back to local veterans.

"That's what I love about this coffee shop," said customer and U.S. Marine veteran Jack Wright. "It's not just about serving a great cup of coffee. It's about providing hope and helping another human being."

The business owners are no strangers to giving back. Long Beach Coffee & Tea opened up shop over two years ago with the mission of lending a helping hand to those who need it the most.

"We opened up this up with the premise of doing outreach," said West, a U.S. Marine veteran. "Everything here is anonymous, much like our Angel tree that we do every year."

How Angel Tree works is each ornament is associated with a different local veteran and an item that he or she needs.

"These are vets ranging from those who live on the streets who have just gotten into transitional housing. So just a lot of them just need the basic necessities," said Francis.

Francis said that participants can return the wrapped gift to the shop by Christmas Eve.

"We always encourage people who provide the gifts to write a note in order provide some encouragement during the holidays," she said.

Francis and West said that there are 160 veterans in the Angel Tree program this year.

"This is an especially hard year for a lot of vets. They're isolated they are missing that brother and sisterhood," Francis said. "A little note of encouragement, a small gift at Christmas time really can make the world to them."

Long Beach Coffee & Tea is located at 480 Pine Ave, Long Beach. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

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