Chicken Sandwiches and Children


When Truett Cathy was honored by the Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia, he told reporter Chandra Thomas what inspires him to work with children.  The interview brings back memories of chicken sandwiches and children for Pete Colbenson, our community organizer at  Pete first met the founder of Chick-fil-A more than 30 years ago, when Cathy responded to a call for help.

Pete was the director of the Clayton County Regional Youth Development Center in Jonesboro in 1987.  At the time, it was one of the oldest and most decrepit facilities in the state.  One morning he got to work and found out both kitchen stoves were broken down.  He had to find a way to feed the children– about 60 hungry kids needed lunch.  So he called The Chick-fil-A Dwarf House in Jonesboro and found a sympathetic ear.

What happened next was a surprise Pete will never forget:

“An hour later an older gentleman in a beat up pickup truck arrived at the back gate. I went to open the gate and introduce myself.  I was stunned to learn it was Truett Cathy. I invited him into the facility. He brought a load of chicken sandwiches, French fries and pies.”

Pete says the kids were thrilled.  Cathy stayed for two hours after lunch and talked to the children individually and in small groups. He talked with them a little about his faith.

That wasn’t his only visit to the RYDC. Truett Cathy became an occasional visitor, and a force in the lives of children in Clayton County who need a chicken sandwich now and then, and so much more.

If you have a story about someone doing good things for children, please let us know.


Got a juvenile justice story idea?  Contact editor Ellen Miller at  Miller is a mulit-media journalist, and former television news reporter and news director.  She has more than two dozen awards for her work in newsrooms in Chicago, Nashville, Charlotte, Sacramento and Cleveland.

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