By Joel Hall
During the first week of August, seven local Chick-fil-A restaurants traded chicken sandwiches for school supplies for students enrolled in Clayton County's public schools.
On Tuesday, the group of Chick-fil-A general managers presented those supplies to the school system at its administration building on Fifth Avenue in Jonesboro. As a part of the school system's Day One celebration, Chick-fil-A restaurants around the area asked local residents to donate packs of pencils, crayons, paper, composition books, two-pocket folders, spiral notebooks, and other supplies essential to school children.
Rhonda Burnough, Day One coordinator, said the drive generated 50 large boxes of supplies.
"The response has been very good," said Burnough. "It's extremely important because most kids come to school with the supplies they need at the beginning of the school year," but run out later, she said.
"We're going to divide [the supplies] up and send them to the counselors, so as students need supplies throughout the year, they will have a place to get them," said Burnough. "They can give them the supplies they need, and it doesn't interfere with their learning.
Randy Burgess, general manager of Truett's Grill on Mt. Zion Boulevard in Morrow, has organized the Chick-fil-A school supplies drive for the last two years. The 1996 Lovejoy High School graduate believes the school supplies drive is a way to give back to the community.
"Being a business leader, we wanted to give back somehow, but really, it's not us giving back, it's the community," said Burgess.
"People want to help, and that's the goal," said Burgess. He said next year, he would like to expand the drive to include back-to-school supplies for teachers.
Ramsey Walker, general manager of the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House in Stockbridge, said he was excited about the community's enthusiasm.
"This was my first year to participate in it and I was really surprised by how many people brought in supplies for a free Chick-fil-A sandwich," said Walker. "One lady brought in 12 notepads," in exchange for 12 chicken sandwiches, he said.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to help some kids who need those school supplies," said Walker.
Charles White, spokesperson for Clayton County Schools said the school district is pleased. "From the standpoint of the district itself, we're very grateful for the generosity of the community," said White. "We want to extend our thanks to Chick-fil-A and the community for these supplies, because they will, indeed, be used properly throughout the school district."