TROY — Six Newton High School seniors took advantage of their open afternoon to camp out at Troy’s new Chick-fil-A’s as part of the restaurant’s First 100 grand opening parking lot party Wednesday.
The teens brought tents, a generator, board games, a football and even an X-Box to help pass the time as they waited to hopefully receive one of 100 free weekly meals from the restaurant when the doors open at 6 a.m. Thursday.
The Newton High School seniors were number 30 out of 100 around 2 p.m. Wednesday, locking in their chance to score free food for a year — if they can make it through the night.
“We just need to make it through the night,” Grant Bayer said. “If we spend the night, we get 52 free meals for a year, so that’s why we are here — and the fun.”
Rest assured, the four were not skipping school, but were released after their morning classes at Newton High School.
“I get out at 11 a.m. anyways, so we came straight here,” Nick Carlin said. “We’ll be back at school tomorrow morning after we get our free meals at 6 a.m. (Thursday) morning so we should be all good there.”
Jack Yoder said they prepared for the long night ahead, bringing heaters and plenty of entertainment to keep them occupied throughout the night.
“They gave us a hard time at school today, there’s no doubt about that, but they all say they wanted us to bring them food (Thursday) morning,” Yoder said.
Troy Denlinger’s mother, Pam, stopped out at the restaurant to check out the seniors’ camping spot.
“What a fun senior memory, and what better way to skip school for — it’s all good, clean fun,” she said.
“We got lunch, so we are good to go,” Troy said. “We got a generator, X-Box, TV, games — we aren’t camping, we are glamping. We all chipped in to bring a couple things.”
“We have lots of blankets and a heater … if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right,” Carlin said.
Event planner Susan Morris said the first 100 customers will be fed and entertained throughout the night. The camping tradition celebrates its 14th year to add a fun twist to its stores grand opening events at new store locations around the country.
“Once they come in they just have to stay on our property. We play games with them, we’ve given them breakfast and we’ve given them lunch, and in a few minutes they are going to help package 10,000 meals,” said Morris.
Campers will take part in the restaurant’s community outreach by bagging 10,000 rice and lentil meals for the New Path Outreach organization.
Meaghan Crump, talent manager, was setting up the assembly line for participants to help prepare and package the meals for the community pantry.
“We package what we call a red lentil jambalaya with lentils, rice, dehydrated vegetables and pink Himalyan salt. We’ll be packaging 10,000 meals today that will stay right here in Troy,” Crump shared.
The Troy location will employ 90 and is located at 1910 West Main Street. Doug Knostman, of Troy, is the in-line manager of the store. The Troy location features an indoor play area for children and free Wi-Fi, drive-thru service. The restaurant will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews