The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

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December 25, 2013

Bringing hope through chicken sandwiches

GREENVILLE — For the past three months, customers eating at the Chick-fil-A in Greenville have been able to bring a little more hope to residents in Hunt County.

Chick-fil-A partnered with the Hope Center of Greenville to raise funds for the non-profit organization this year.

According to Jerry Speight, executive director of the Hope Center, the partnership has been very fruitful, highlighted by the nearly $2,000 that have been raised so far.

“When you share the same values that we have, that is encouraging and it really helps us carry out the mission of the Hope Center,” he said. “I think this strategic partnership here is very important.”

Speight said that the partnership, on top of hosting “Spirit Nights” every month, shows that Chick-fil-A is a business that cares.

“It’s something that they wanted to do and give back to the charities,” he said. “I believe that God honors that.”

Cathy Miner, franchised restaurant operator of the Chick-fil-A in Greenville, said investing in the community is very important for her and her husband.

“We want to help where we can help,” she said. “We want to be connected and give back to the community.”

Miner said from offering people a smile and praying they have a great day, she encourages her employees to bring hope to people every day.

“They all have a story,” she said. “You never know who you’re going to run into and how you may be able to speak something into their life.”

Miner said her work with Speight and the Hope Center and seeing how he treats her employees is encouraging.

“Jerry is great in not only interacting with the community, but also with my employees,” she said. “Jerry always gives them some uplifting thing to help them on their way.”

Speight said the partnership is very unique.

“I think that when the community sees this partnership, it’s not only a testament to the integrity of the business, but also that there’s something else we want to do in reaching out to people,” he said.

Speight has a sign over a booth that says “Second office of Jerry Speight” because he eats lunch there nearly every day, and said he often gets asked why he is always at the business.

“I tell them ‘because there’s people there,’” he said. “What better way to reach the community?”

With a few days left of the campaign, both Speight and Miner said they are appreciative of the response from residents of Greenville and Hunt County, and plan to do it again next year.

“It created a buzz in the community,” he said.

Miner said there have been multiple benefits to partnering with the Hope Center, including meeting the Speight family.

“It’s not only just the partnership, but also the friendship,” she said. “I love them like they were my family.”

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