Chicken Salad check! 

Chicken Salad Chick donates $9,400 to The Link’s Master’s Hands food pantry

The Link of Cullman County staffers receive a check for $9,400 from Chicken Salad Chick Friday morning. Left to right are Katie Bowen, Paul Ballenger, Chris Hopper, Meredith Easterwood, Julie Hall, Paige Williams, Melissa Betts, Taylor Marsh and Josh Lisenby. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Chicken Salad Chick on Friday presented The Link of Cullman County a check for $9,400 to help fund the agency’s Master’s Hands community food bank, a ministry begun in partnership with Daystar Church. The funds came from the sale of “Giving Cards” which offer discounts in exchange for the purchase of the cards.

Chicken Salad Chick District Manager Paul Ballenger explained, “For the last four years, we’ve been doing the Giving Card, which allows customers to come in and get some great rebates and return for the $5 donation, and then all the donation goes to a local charity. It’s just a great way to bring people together in the community around us.”

Daystar Church Global Outreach Director and Link Board Chairman Chris Hopper told The Tribune, “This donation from Chicken Salad Chick is monumental, and the efforts The Link and Daystar put out to the community to actually help feed our neighbors within our community that have really been affected by COVID-19. I know a lot of families, a lot of people have been out of work, have been just hit from multiple directions, and this is going to help supplement some of the food that has been taken off their table.”

Link Team Leader Julie Hall said, “Today was a celebration of Chicken Salad Chick’s efforts to support Master’s Hands at The Link and the citizens of Cullman County. Their extraordinary financial donation could purchase up to 67,143 pounds of food from the North Alabama Food Bank! That is a huge blessing to our community.”

Link Director of Community Development Melissa Betts said, “We are so thankful to have a community partner in Chicken Salad Chick. Store manager Josh Lisenby has a huge heart for Cullman and has inspired his team to give back in a way that will bless so many!”

The Master’s Hands program at The Link is overseen by Neighbor Relations Coordinator Paige Williams, whom Betts called “the front line face to all neighbors who come to The Link seeking social assistance,” adding, “Since March, feeding people has been 90% of her focus. When COVID hit, so many households were hurting for resources. Paige has worked tirelessly with every resource she was presented with to assist people.”

Ballenger concluded, “Really, our mission at Chicken Salad Chick is to spread joy, enrich lives and serve others. That’s kind of what we build into our business model and everything we do each day. We have the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation which does a lot of cancer research out of Auburn, but we always want to be kind of a pillar or part of the community. So we love to give back. That’s really just our culture, is that we want to help the community in any way we can and give back when we can.”

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W.C. Mann