Chick-fil-A offered love, support and chicken to a community in crisis after the recent Orlando shootings.
After a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 at a gay nightclub, Orlando-area hospitals announced an urgent need for blood. Thousands of residents lined up at One Blood donation centers to donate blood for the victims. Some of these lines spanned for miles under the hot Orlando sun. Potential donors endured hours-long waits and temperatures as high as 99 degrees.
Chick-fil-A—known for the strong religious values of its founders—is normally closed on Sunday and has in the past supported traditional marriage. But after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, a group of Chick-fil-A employees showed up to work on Sunday, June 12, to cook sandwiches and hand out drinks, free of charge, for the people in line to donate blood.
Cindy Coffman, Chick-fil-A's Area Marketing Director, explained the decision to the Independent Journal Review: "When you're in the midst of a tragedy, you just go where you're told you are needed. We went out this morning and took chicken biscuits, orange juice and coffee to police and firefighters and even some of the volunteers as well. We were able to go over to the community blood center and give cards for free sandwiches to some of the people who were donating blood. The community around us has been absolutely incredible. We feel humbled to just be a part of the bigger picture."
Area resident Luke Herzog spread the word on Twitter: "Chick-fil-a opened up their restaurants in Orlando to serve people waiting in line to give blood ... pretty cool."
Attorney Kevin Hayslett wrote on Facebook: "While the founders definitely don't approve of that choice of lifestyle, they believe in compassion. Who knew? A bunch of people claiming to be Christians care about others even when they don't agree with them. This group took time out of their schedules to volunteer to help those who were also trying to do their part. On top of that, the franchise's location on Wells Road in Orange Park is even offering coupons for a free frosted lemonade to anyone who donates blood when the One Blood mobile unit is at their store on June 14th."
Coffman said she hoped people could see Chick-fil-A's heart through its actions.
"At the end of the day, we sell chicken, I get that," she said. "But I hope people can see beyond that, that we want to treat everyone with dignity, and we love our community."
In this dark time, it is wonderful to see a Christian company putting faith into action to help the people of Orlando.
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