TYLER (KYTX) – If you've ever eaten at a Chick-fil-A restaurant you are impacting the lives of foster children.
The founder of Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy, was moved in 1987 to do something to help lost and abandoned children. It was heartbreaking to him to think about children without a loving home. So at the age of 66, Cathy created WinShape Homes. These foster homes are dedicated to developing children physically, emotionally and spiritually.
"Mr. Cathy has been a mentor to a lot of people and I think I'm one of them," said Ed King, owner of the Chick-fil-A franchises in Tyler. His wife, Sandra, adds, "I think the whole purpose of Chick-fil-A is not just to sell chicken, Mr. Cathy just imparts that same generosity to the people who work for him."
The King's have been involved locally with Chick-fil-A for 34 years. Mr. Cathy's generosity has had a direct impact on them. Ed said, "I've seen what he has done and it just premeditated my sole and my heart. You just want to do what's right for people."
Chick-fil-A spends about $3-million a year on the Winshape Homes paying for everything from school to braces to vacations. The twelve foster homes are located throughout Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. Each home has two full-time parents.
"We've been around WinShape for a little over 20 years. I grew up in one of the WinShape foster homes," said Richard Yadkowski. "It's neat that this isn't an institution, this is a family,"
WinShape Homes are Christ-centered and family-oriented. Ed King said, "They have evening bible studies. They go to church two times a week. They go to all kinds of concerts and everything. It's just like living in a home."
Sandra King explains, "They stay until they are 18 and then they go to college and then [find a job] but this is where they might come back for Christmas or for Easter or call back and that's their mom and dad."
For some of these children, it's the first time they have felt wanted, such was the case for a 13-year-old girl. "She had never spent the same year in the same school and she said the first couple nights when she came [to WinShape Homes] she said we were the fist people in her life that told her that we loved her," said Jonathan Whitley, WinShape Homes house parent.
Many of the children say their time spent at WinShape has literally been life-changing. "Truett just has a heart for children to grow to be as much as they can be," said Sandra.
Following Mr. Cathy's lead, the Kings are leaving their mark by giving back here in East Texas. "We feel the community is good to us and we want to be good to the community," said Sandra.
Ed added, "From a spiritual stand point, I feel like I'm receiving blessings from all of this."
Blessings that are shared in our community as well as to the children served at WinShape Homes.