LOUISVILLE, Ky. — KFC is teaming up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) to help newly matched "Bigs" (mentors) and "Littles" (youth) bond over a bucket this summer.
The heart of BBBSA's programming is Community-Based Mentoring, which allows Bigs and Littles to spend one-on-one time together enjoying free/low-cost activities in the community.
Sharing a meal is a favorite way for Bigs and Littles to connect, so on the heels of BBBSA's successful "Big Draft" volunteer recruitment campaign earlier this year, KFC is providing gift cards for 5,000 newly matched Bigs and Littles to meet and share a bucket of KFC's world-famous fried chicken while kicking off their new mentoring relationship.
In addition, KFC is also donating meals (via $20 gift cards) to the families of new Littles so they can share a bucket of fried chicken this summer. According to BBBSA, 74 percent of Littles receive free or reduced lunch from school and 22 percent of families receive some type of income assistance.
Along with their bucket meal, Littles and their families will get access to a digital, family-friendly cookbook with reheating instructions and recipes that demonstrate ways to stretch a KFC meal.
“When we found out the number one activity for Bigs and Littles was sharing a meal, we knew we had to help,” said Staci Rawls, chief communications officer, KFC U.S. “Since 1952, KFC has been bringing people together over a bucket of our world-famous fried chicken. We know helping these new Bigs and Littles strengthen their relationships will go far beyond this one meal on one day. We are inspired by the work Big Brothers Big Sisters of America does to feed the potential of youth across the country.”
Along with the donation of meals totaling $175,000, KFC U.S. is committing $100,000 to BBBSA to support workforce mentoring programs that prepare teens for post-high school success. Through this partnership, Littles will have an opportunity to learn about the various career paths, including opportunities in the restaurant industry, while developing meaningful relationships with their new Big.
The mentoring mission of BBBSA is one that is well understood by KFC. For longtime KFC franchise owner Mike Baker, while growing up on a ranch and trying to figure out his future, finding a strong mentor changed his life. Baker found his way to working in a KFC kitchen as a cook for Pete Harman, KFC's first franchisee. Working under the guiding hand of Harman and other leaders in the Harman group, Baker learned the passion and pride that comes with hard work and the opportunities that could come from working in a restaurant. Harman taught Baker to value the KFC business and culture. Baker continued to work his way up to restaurant manager, area coach and ultimately became a KFC franchise owner with 36 restaurants.
“As a KFC franchisee, it's important to me that we continue to pass on the lessons I learned from Pete and create opportunities for our team members today,” Baker said. “Partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters helps us support mentorship in our communities as well.”
“Our goal is to empower young people on a path to graduate with a plan for their future and a mentor whose impact can last for a lifetime,” said Artis Stevens, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with KFC to provide workforce development opportunities for our Littles.”
BBBSA is always looking to expand its reach and provide even more children with access to quality mentorship programs; right now, there are more than 30,000 young people waiting to be matched with a Big. In the last decade alone, BBBSA has supported more than 2 million Littles and has over 270,000 current Big/Little mentoring relationships.
In addition to its support of BBBSA, KFC has been feeding and supporting local communities through donations of 1 million pieces of chicken. In the past 18 months, KFC has donated more than 3 million pieces of chicken to feed frontline healthcare workers, teachers and homebound seniors in need.