The brain child of Canton Chick-fil-a owner Kevin Williams, the program brought together about 65 stores in the metro area to feed 5,900 kids in seven counties who participate in the MUST Summer Lunch Program for children who are on free or reduced lunches in local schools.
“What an amazing experience we had distributing meals to thousands of children in need,” said Ike Reighard, president and CEO. “In Cherokee County alone, we distributed 1,886 meals, a special treat to some children who had never had the pleasure of eating a Chick-fil-A meal.”
Each child received a hot Chick-fil-A sandwich, a bag of chips, cookie and juice box.
“While that may sound like a simple thing, it was a tremendous undertaking that took weeks of planning. We are particularly indebted to Kevin Williams, one of the franchise owners, who is from Cherokee. He helped coordinate this momentous event and is a longtime friend and supporter of MUST Ministries,” Reighard continued. “His passion to serve others inspired us all.”
Williams, who first started working in January on the plan to go out with volunteers and give them Chick-fil-A sandwiches, said the experience was amazing for all the participants from the Chick-fil-A stores.
“Howard Cox, who works with MUST, came to me in January, and said, what about this idea, doing all the kids in the lunch program for a day, and we started pitching it to some different operators, and at the end of it close to 65 restaurants were coming together,” Williams said.
Fast forward to sometime in March, and they started really organizing, Williams said.
“This started out as a dream and just took hold and people just came together to work for the children on free and reduced lunches,” he said.
The people who volunteer every day in the program throughout the summer have such heart, he said.
“I saw parts of Canton I never saw before. We surprised the kids,” Williams said. Another fun part was getting the Chick-fil-A team members involved, he said.
“What started out as an opportunity to serve kids in need turned out to be a blessing for our team, and that was so fun about the day. We wanted to shine the light on MUST Ministries and working together,” he said.