OLYMPIA – After more than two years, volunteer groups across the state can once again participate in the state’s free coffee program at selected safety rest areas, providing coffee to the traveling public.
The free coffee program promotes safe highways by providing coffee to reduce drowsy driving. Volunteer non-profit groups dispense the free coffee at 34 designated rest areas operated by the Washington State Department of Transportation. In addition to coffee, travelers get a chance to learn more about the local volunteer group and can also make a voluntary donation for the coffee. The popular program was shut down in March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic safety concerns.
Groups can now start making bookings for slots for Friday, May 20, through the end of the year by vising the program webpage for details (www.wsdot.wa.gov/about/contacts/rest-area-free-coffee-program).
Participating groups should follow good sanitation and COVID prevention practices and follow https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/21-14.3%20-%20COVID-19%20Vax%20WA%20Amendment%20%28tmp%29.pdf
Governor Inslee’s Amended Proclamation 12-14, including providing a declaration to WSDOT that the group meets the proclamation’s vaccine verification, exemptions and accommodations requirements (more details available online).
Free coffee program details:
- An updated reservation system is available this year through email on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications also can be mailed (more details on the website).
- Only coffee and other non-carbonated beverages can be dispensed; food cannot be part of the free coffee service.
- Not every location has free coffee volunteers every day; service depends on volunteer group availability.
- Some sites may not have volunteers scheduled on the first available weekend. Groups will have signs out at near coffee dispensing areas when they’re on site.