Chick-fil-A presents 9 boxes of donated school supplies at Koontz Elementary

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Eat free chicken. Give cool things to school children.
That’s what hundreds of customers at the Chick-fil-A restaurant on East Innes Street did earlier this month.
Through the store’s “Tools for Schools” campaign, customers who donated items ó packs of pens or pencils or composition books, for instance ó were given free milkshakes.
Customers who upped the ante and donated backpacks were given combo meals.
The campaign stretched from Aug. 2 through Wednesday, and on Friday, Chick-fil-A representatives presented educators at Koontz Elementary with nine boxes filled with donated school items.
“It went much better than we’d anticipated,” said Trisha Kehn, Chick-fil-A’s general manager, speaking of the campaign. “We were very, very overwhelmed.”
In addition to a boatload of pens, pencils and notebook paper, donations also included 20 book bags.
Kehn said the restaurant’s operators didn’t decide until this week the school they’d present with the donations.
She said she asked around and, “Koontz was the school I heard the most about.”
And so Kehn and a handful of others made the trek to the school Friday morning to deliver the items. They even had the Chick-fil-A cow in tow for the surprise presentation.
“The teachers were just overwhelmed,” said Bo Hawkins, Chick-fil-A’s owner. “We’ve got our customers to thank. We had an unbelievable response from the community.”
He and Kehn said they plan to turn “Tools for Schools” into an annual event.
“We’re hoping it’ll be even bigger next year,” Hawkins said.
At Koontz, Rick Dunlap, the school’s principal, said the donations will be well-used. He noted that a high percentage of the school’s students receive free or reduced-price lunches, a sure sign that many are in need.
Dunlap said the items that Chick-fil-A representatives delivered will be distributed to students when school opens next week.
“It’s a privilege to have Chick-fil-A and its customers donate to our students,” Dunlap said. “We’ll gladly take advantage of any donated items in order to help our children.”