Chick-fil-A Opened Sunday to Donate Food to Orlando Massacre Responders

Chick-fil-A, which has been closed on Sundays since 1946, opened several locations near Orlando last Sunday to distribute food to blood donors and law enforcement officials responding to the shooting at an Orlando nightclub that claimed 50 lives and wounded many others.

By Lydia Goerner Published on June 14, 2016

Chick-fil-A, which has been closed on Sundays since 1946 because of their Christian beliefs, opened several locations near Orlando last Sunday in the wake of the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub.

These Florida locations did not serve the public, but cooked and distributed chicken sandwiches and iced tea to those in line to donate blood and to hundreds of law enforcement officials, Fox 5 reported.

Chick-fil-A has been criticized in the past for their position against same-sex marriage. Dan Cathy, the company’s CEO, has spoken against same-sex marriage and has donated money to anti-gay groups, according to Washington Examiner. In May, the Washington Examiner also reported that New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, said he would no longer patronize Chick-fil-A because of the company’s opposition to gay marriage. De Blasio encouraged others to do the same.

However, these views did not stop the restaurants from extending compassion and generosity to the victims and responders of the shooting at Pulse dance club.

The Rouse Road, Orlando Chick-fil-A location posted to their Facebook page Sunday: “God bless the USA. Home is where the [heart is]. Orlando is our home. #prayfororlando.”

Another Orlando location posted several photos to Facebook of Chick-fil-A employees serving food to blood donors. The accompanying message read, “A few members of our awesome team decided to go into work on a Sunday and make some food for people waiting in line to donate blood. We love our city and love the people in our community. #prayfororlando”.

According to Orlando Sentinel, blood bank OneBlood requested the blood donations to aid those wounded in the attack. The response was “unprecedented and remarkable,” according to a statement on the OneBlood website. “Thank you to every blood donor who took the time to donate in the wake of the tragic mass shooting on Orlando, Florida,” the statement said. “Thousands of people packed our donor centers and blood drives eager to donate and help replenish the blood supply.”

Chick-fil-A’s tradition of closing its doors on Sundays has held since it opened 70 years ago. The Chick-fil-A website states that the company’s founder, Truett Cathy, chose to close the restaurant on Sundays for reasons “as much practical as spiritual.” Cathy believes employees “should have an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so.” However, the employees at these Orlando locations volunteered to use the day helping those responding to the massacre.

The food chain has a history of making charitable donations. Their website states that over the past four years, Chick-fil-A, Inc. has given over $68 million in contributions to educational and charitable organizations. The company also donates food across America.

For another Christian response to the massacre in Orlando, see The Stream‘s Michael Brown’s piece: Right and Wrong Reactions to the Tragic Night Club Massacre in Orlando.

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