Local Chick-Fil-A owner Lance Reed loves seeing the smiling faces of local seniors who visit the restaurant for adult senior bingo Wednesday mornings from 8-9 a.m.
The store has been hosting the morning event, and providing free coffee, since last October. They started with about five people, and it’s grown to 20 to 30 regular attenders. The free event is open to all seniors, and winners can choose an item of free food from about 15 to 20 options.
Reed started with a store in Alexandria, La., but moved to Oxford and started the 2307 West Jackson store about five years ago. Since then, he and the store have become big community supporters.
“We want to have a positive influence on all,” Reed said. “We probably do more than a lot of other Chick-Fil-As do. It is a little more than just selling chicken.”
The reactions from seniors who visit the store in Oxford for bingo are similar to his former customers.
“They get to engage and we get to interact with them a little bit,” he said. It’s so nice to have something for senior adults to get together and have fun, and make new friends.”
Senior bingo is just one of a number of community activities that the store plans each year. Perhaps its most wildly popular is the Daddy-Daughter Princess Ball, which will make its third appearance next February. Two years ago, Reed said, it was a maxed-out crowd at the Conference Center of about 500-550 fathers and daughters. This year, it was held on two nights at the Powerhouse, with a total attendance of about 650 to 700 people.
The princess ball has become a true community affair, bringing in numerous sponsors and locals who are willing to help.
“Wayne Andrews at the Arts Council was huge for us,” Reed said. “We can go to him with ideas and he can makes things happen.”
The store’s marketing director, Annie Williams, listed the numerous local volunteers who made the latest ball a success: Holli’s Sweet Tooth brought a chocolate fountain and cupcake tower, Danny Clements ran the photo booth, the Art to Go truck created all the daughters’ masquerade masks and Alderman Jay Hughes donated his time and resources at a crepe-making station. He studied French cuisine at Cordon Bleu, according to Williams. Home Depot made the bridge used this year and Office Depot provided printing.
Both the Beauty and the Beast set two years ago and the “A Night in Paris” theme this year were popular, but Reed said getting dads and daughters together is what matters most.
“The whole thing is about ‘how do we engage the dads and daughters?’” he said. “We brought the bridge to the store to keep that engagement and conversation going.”
Another initiative of the store is the Win Shape camp that runs from June 30 through July 3 this year, with parents dropping off campers at 8 a.m. and picking them up at 5 p.m. each day. It is hosted by First Baptist Church and takes place a Lafayette High School.
The camp, for first through six-graders, offers 18 different tracks, so there’s something for everyone. Flag football or archery might appeal to one child, while another might be interested in gymnastics or dance. There’s even a food track, where kids can learn how to cook and compete in a Chopped-style competition at the end of the week. Parents can sign kids up online at https://www.winshape.org/camps/register/.
“It’s got something for all the kids,” Reed said.
When everything is said and done, Reed said he really has just one mission.
“We want to figure out how do we give back to the community,” he said. “We’re blessed to be a blessing, that’s a phrase we use all the time.”
Hee is a video on the Chick-Fil-A-sponsored Daddy-Daughter Princess Ball.
Daddy Daughter Princess Ball 2014 from Daniel Pate Russell on Vimeo.
Gretchen Stone is associate editor of HottyToddy.com Gretchen can be contacted about this story at Gretchen.Stone@Hottytoddy.com
Chick-Fil-A Not Just Chicken, it’s Senior Bingo Too
10 09 23 Caleb Warren Ole Miss Football
Lane Kiffin Bye Week
10 03 23 Dayton Wade Ole Miss Football
10 03 23 Trey Washington Ole Miss Football
10 03 23 Ulysses Bentley Ole Miss Football
10 02 23 KK Deans Press Conference Ole Miss WBB
10 02 23 Yollet McPhee McCuin Press Conference Ole Miss WBB
10 02 23 Snudda Collins Press Conference Ole Miss WBB
10 02 23 Jeremy James Ole Miss Football
10 02 23 Daijahn Anthony Ole Miss Football