Not long after the Salvation Army bell ringers began their volunteer work this morning, Chick-fil-A announced it would no longer be partnering with the beloved and iconic American charity.
The decision from the Atlanta-based restaurant chain, whose core mission is “to glorify God,” came the same day the Salvation Army kicked off its 129th Red Kettle Campaign, an annual initiative synonymous with the holiday season in the U.S.
In fiscal year 2018, Chick-fil-A donated $115,000 to the Salvation Army. But that will be no more, according to a statement released Monday by the quick-service restaurant. The brand plans to “deepen its giving to a smaller number of organizations,” and that no longer includes the 154-year-old Salvation Army.
“We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education, and homelessness organizations — areas in which the Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed,” read a statement from the Salvation Army, according to CNN.
The statement is particularly biting because Chick-fil-A said it was ending the partnership with The Salvation Army in order to focus on “education, homelessness, and hunger.” Clearly, the above statement from the Salvation Army is referencing this fact.
Chick-fil-A seemingly capitulated to backlash from some in the LGBTQ community who feel the franchise’s corporate cash goes to charities opposed to same-sex marriage. The shift comes right after pop singer Ellie Goulding blasted the Salvation Army when some in her fanbase rebuked her for partnering with a charitable organization they have characterized as anti-LGBTQ, an accusation that has also been leveled against Chick-fil-A over the years.
Goulding, for her part, threatened to withdraw her participation in the halftime show during the Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day unless the Salvation Army, which benefits from the show, offered a full-throated endorsement of the LGBTQ agenda.
The Salvation Army, despite attacks from the left, has maintained they help all people in need — regardless of their sexual orientation.
“When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk,” continued the statement from the Salvation Army. “We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors.”
As for Chick-fil-A, the company has offered no statement specifically mentioning the Salvation Army.
In lieu of donating to major charities like the Salvation Army, Chick-fil-A plans to give larger donations to Junior Achievement USA and Covenant House International and will donate $25,000 to local food banks each time a new franchise location is opened.
Adding insult to injury, Chick-fil-A’s decision to end its partnership with the Salvation Army — which has not been met warmly by those in the conservative community — came around the same time Google and Apple launched holiday partnerships with the beloved charity, offering those who use their mobile pay services the opportunity to donate directly to the faith-based organization.
Faithwire has reached out to Chick-fil-A for comment. If a representative responds to our request, this story will be updated to include those remarks.