Saturday, April 13, 2024

Starbucks Workers Raise Over $40,000 for Barista After Her Car was Broken Into

A supervisor at Starbucks will be able to buy a new vehicle, thanks to the love and support of her staff – and a whole college campus.

65-year-old Karen Collinsworth has been living in Huntington, West Virginia, near the Marshall University campus for decades – and for most of that time, she has been employed at Starbucks, serving both faculty and students.

In a phone interview, she revealed that she’s originally from Columbus, Ohio, but that she’s been in the Huntington area since 1976. She also revealed that the food industry is her passion and that’s been working in customer service since 1978. Her fellow Starbucks employees seem to agree that “making others happy is her signature trait.”

Cassie Gray, a student at the university who works with Collinsworth at the Starbucks, said she loves “coming into work knowing [she’s] gonna be there” as she can “talk to her about everything.”

collinsworth with staff
Collinsworth with her fellow Starbucks baristas

If anything, Collinsworth was known for her kindness to others – which would explain why an entire campus came to help when they heard she was having issues with her vehicle, a 2004 Kia, which was on its way out. Jaiden Horn, another one of Collinsworth’s coworkers, explained that “[she] had been experiencing a lot of issues with the Kia in the past such as it not starting.”

Gray agreed and said that “[Collinsworth] actually had car troubles the entire time [she] knew her.” But her supervisor didn’t like to talk about the issue.

Collinsworth has been working in the food industry since 1978

In the past six months, however, things seem to have gotten even worse for the car. Horns explained that one day, [Collinsworth] came into work and told everyone that her catalytic converter was stolen overnight. To make matters worse, her car was burglarized again just a few days later, with several personal belongings stolen from the interior.

By then, everyone agreed that she shouldn’t be driving the Kia anymore.

In late August, Gray and a few other Starbucks employees were working when she came across YikYak, an anonymous social media app. It was then that they decided they wanted to help out Collinsworth with some donations. The group began talking and eventually decided to launch a fundraiser for her.

As soon as she got back to her dorm room, Gray launched the fundraising campaign. The goal of the GoFundMe page “We Love You Karen”, was to raise funds so that she would have enough to purchase a working vehicle. In total, the campaign has raised more than $40,000 – over four times its original goal of $10,000.

we love you karen
The “We Love You Karen” GoFundMe campaign raised more than $40,000 with the help of faculty staff and students

According to Horns, everyone did their part by sharing the GoFundMe page on Facebook, YikYak, Snapchat, and Instagram. Within 24 hours, they had met their goal of $10,000. While there were some big donations, such as a $5,000 donation from Brad Smith, the president of Marshall University, most of the donations were smaller and were from college students on the campus.

Initially, Gray and the other baristas planned on surprising Collinsworth with the GoFundMe once it was completed but word of it spread so fast that she was eventually told about it by a neighbor. Collinsworth was understandably overwhelmed with the news.

While she originally intended to fix up her old Kia, she is now considering purchasing a new car – a Subaru, with the funds.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.


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