WASHINGTON — Coffee chain Starbucks on Monday told US customers their country needs them -- to help create jobs.

The chain, omnipresent in many US cities, announced the launch of a donation drive, with proceeds being used to back loans for small job-creating businesses.

"Small businesses are the backbone of America, employing more than half of all private sector workers -- but this critical jobs engine has stalled," said Starbucks boss Howard Schultz.

"We've got to thaw the channels of credit so that community businesses can start hiring again."

With an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent, the United States has been mired in a jobless recovery for much of the last three years, despite large-scale stimulus efforts from the government.

With 6,800 Arabica-infused stores across the United States, Starbucks said it would now try its own mini-stimulus.

The company said for each $5 that is donated $35 in financing would be created to support community businesses.

"Donors who contribute $5 or more will receive a red, white, and blue wristband with the message 'Indivisible.'"

"The wristband is designed to serve as a symbol of Americans uniting with other Americans to help create jobs."