GREENFIELD — Chick-fil-A is coming to Greenfield — sort of.
Starting in March, Park Chapel Christian Church in Greenfield will become an official Chick-fil-A distribution point, where residents can buy lunch once a week knowing their dining choice will benefit local charities.
It’s all part of the mission Park Chapel, one of the county’s largest churches, has adopted with its pay-it-forward campaign. Members of the congregation have adopted the tagline, #blesstheworld, as they set out to make a positive difference in the community by spreading goodwill.
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The Rev. Danny Curry, the church’s lead pastor, made the announcement during worship service Sunday, flanked by two church elders dressed in cow costumes carrying signs proclaiming the fast food chain’s “Eat more chicken” slogan and triggering cheers from a crowd of more than 600.
Chick-fil-A is one of the most commonly requested restaurants among county residents, and Park Chapel is putting that demand to good use. Every Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Curry said, area residents can come to Park Chapel, 1176 E. McKenzie Road, for lunch, where a limited Chick-fil-A menu will be on sale. And every week, the church will choose a local nonprofit organization to receive 100 percent of the meal proceeds, which they can then use to further their own missions of helping Hancock County residents in need.
Groups like Love In The Name of Christ (Love INC), the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen and the Hope House will be among the beneficiaries, along with the church’s international mission trips to countries including Kenya and Haiti, church leaders say.
People in Greenfield have been begging for a Chick-Fil-A for ages, Curry said. The restaurant is a top-notch organization whose delicious food is matched by positive corporate values, he said. Park Chapel might not be able to bring Greenfield a full restaurant, but they can give folks another sandwich option once a week.
“It’s gonna be awesome,” Curry commented during his announcement Sunday. “We’re gonna bless the world with some Christian chicken.”
The partnership between Park Chapel and Chick-fil-A was born of Curry’s friendship with Sam Hartman, the owner-operator of a Chick-fil-A near Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville.
Curry approached Hartman about using some of the fast-food restaurant’s most popular menu items to funnel money toward area do-gooders, and Hartman said he was was eager to oblige and bring his company’s products to the bellies of Greenfield residents.
The restaurant will sell the food to Park Chapel, which will then sell it at a slight mark-up to raise money. Hartman said he is thrilled to partner with a group that does so much good in the community.
Hartman and church officials agree their partnership will likely create a ton of buzz and excitement in Hancock County. That’s great for the Chick-Fil-A brand, Hartman said.
Park Chapel’s lobby will completely transform into a Chick-fil-A once a week, said Scott Kern, a director of ministries at Park Chapel. Visitors will see the same banners, packages and cups they would get at any franchise location. Volunteers from the church will act as restaurant staff, and the county health department will assure all food is stored and distributed safely.
The items sold at Park Chapel — including sandwiches, salads and wraps (sorry, no fries, organizers said) will be prepared at Hartman’s Chick-fil-A location near Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville and then driven to Greenfield, Kern said. Deliveries will be made twice in the three-hour distribution window to ensure the freshest food is available, he said.
The food will cost a bit more than what customers at a traditional Chick-fil-A location would pay — about 30 cents more — but the price difference boosts the profits local groups receive, Kern said.
Customers will know right away which nonprofit their lunch is supporting, Kern said. Every customer will get a card as they walk in the door, explaining a bit about the beneficiary of the week and its mission.
Amanda Revolt of Greenfield said she’s excited the distribution point will help out area organizations.
She’s seen the needs of the community met through other outreach efforts organized under the #blesstheworld umbrella, she said. She participated in Park Chapel’s recent “Bless the World” day, traveling to nonprofit Brandywine Creek Farms to weed its tomato patches; the farm donates a portion of its produce to those in need.
She’d still love to see Chick-fil-A open its own location in the county; meanwhile, the new arrangement furthers the church’s overall goal, she said.
“It’s a great way to help spread the mission of ‘Bless the World,’” she said.
Local nonprofit leaders said the arrangement builds on an already great relationship between the Greenfield church’s parishioners and local missions.
Park Chapel is a longtime supporter of the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, providing both donations and volunteers, said executive director Jill Ebbert. The organization’s upcoming auction fundraiser, April 14, will be held at the church, she said.
She was pleased to hear the sale of Chick-fil-A favorites could mean a few more dollars toward the kitchen’s bottom line. The soup kitchen has been fundraising in earnest lately in order to install a fire-suppression hood over a new industrial oven, an edict from the fire marshal the organization must fulfill by March.
While it is common for Chick-fil-A franchises to connect with schools and hospitals to create distribution centers for their product as a fundraiser for their organizations, Park Chapel’s plan to to donate 100 percent of the profits sets it apart, Hartman said.
Church leaders say they’re excited for the possibilities their Chick-fil-A initiative will bring to Hancock County. They’re always looking for new ways to reach out into the community, spreading goodwill and positivity.
“Our main thing is to eat more chicken and bless the world,” Curry said. “Who can’t get on board with that?”