NEW YORK, N.Y. – Chick-fil-A employees in Orlando, Florida were serving food this past Sunday after the massacre at a gay night club, even though the chain is normally closed on Sundays in a nod to the religious beliefs of its founder.
A few employees from at least one Orlando location made food for people waiting in line to donate blood after the massacre that left 49 dead and dozens more injured, according to the Facebook page for a local Chick-fil-A.
“We love our city and love the people in our community,” the Facebook post said.
A Facebook page for another local Chick-fil-A noted that, “Our restaurant, along with a couple of others in the area, simply responded just like numerous other Orlando businesses and residents have done.”
A representative for Chick-fil-A Corp. said in an email that there have been rare cases that “move our local operators to respond with food donations to help communities in need.” The company said it did not know how many local restaurants or employees were involved in the donations Sunday, and that the restaurants were not open to the public.
Chick-fil-A touched off protests by gay rights advocates in 2012 after its CEO Dan Cathy voiced support for “biblical families” and opposition to same-sex marriages. As it seeks to expand its national footprint, the company has tried to draw a distinction between its business and the beliefs of its ownership.
Bill Huelsman, who volunteers at the GLBT Community Center of Orlando, said Tuesday he didn’t see food donations from the Atlanta-based restaurant chain as a sign that it was changing its long-held stance against homosexuality.
“They should be trying to do the right thing,” said Huelsman. “Everybody is pulling together.”