Story by Christina Beals, News Reporter
Photo by Halle Keighton, Photo Editor
Entering its third year, F.A.R.M. Cafe’s “Buy Boone Lunch” is a monthly event sponsored by local businesses and organizations.
The website also states that it is held once a month and gives local businesses or individuals the opportunity to buy Boone lunch by making a donation of at least $500, covering the basic cost of daily food preparation and restaurant operation for F.A.R.M. Cafe.
The business or individual is also given the opportunity to staff the restaurant for the given day by providing volunteers to serve in various restaurant roles.
All additional donations made by guests during the event go towards F.A.R.M. Cafe’s further efforts in providing meals for those experiencing food insecurity locally.
Businesses that have participated in Buy Boone Lunch recently according to F.A.R.M. Cafe’s website include Boone Drugs, Inc., Mprints Screenwriting and Embroidery, 4 Forty Four Construction, and The Inn at Ragged Garden.
F.A.R.M. Cafe volunteer coordinator, cook, and marketing and development coordinator Thomas Brown said that the idea behind Buy Boone Lunch was inspired by another company that has employed the same opportunity for businesses to help out.
“The idea for the monthly event came from National Public Radio where local stations can have day sponsors – businesses or individuals who provide funding to support the operation of the station each day,” Brown said via email. “I thought that was a concept that we could make work at the Cafe, and it has worked great! Since it began in October 2016, we have had monthly ‘Buy Boone Lunch’ sponsors, including a first year seminar class at ASU.”
4 Forty Four Construction, one of the local businesses that has helped F.A.R.M. Cafe in the past through Buy Boone Lunch, has taken advantage of the opportunity in lending a helping hand via supplying volunteers.
“4 Forty Four not only provides a monetary donation to underwrite the lunch (costs), but most importantly, our team lends a helping hand in volunteering their time to prep food, wash dishes and work on the serving line. Our team will tell you that the best part of working at F.A.R.M. Cafe is getting to observe and interact (with) everyone that comes in,” Lynn Lawrence, 4 Forty Four Construction administrative assistant, said via email.
As a company, 4 Forty Four Construction was sold on helping with F.A.R.M. Cafe’s efforts when company president Kevin Troyer gained a better understanding of their overall mission.
“In October of 2016, Kevin Troyer was inspired and impressed as he spoke with (volunteer coordinator) Thomas Brown about the mission of F.A.R.M. Cafe during a breakfast meeting,” Lawrence said via email. “Kevin knew that the staff of 4 Forty Four was a community-oriented team of people that take their job, as stewards of the community that they live in, seriously.”
That October, 4 Forty Four was the first business to participate in Buy Boone Lunch and will be helping F.A.R.M. Cafe again this Wednesday.
Mprints, another company that has helped in buying Boone lunch, also employs the option of supplying F.A.R.M. Cafe with volunteers for the day.
“All of our employees volunteer in 2 hour shifts on the day we buy Boone lunch. I try to notify friends and business associates/contacts in advance so that we can have a good turnout to support the Cafe,” Mprints owner Stuart Mangum said via email.
Like 4 Forty Four Construction, Mprints’ inspiration to begin helping with Buy Boone Lunch was the need to help their local community.
“In the 27 plus years that I have been in business, part of Mprints’ mission has been to support causes in the community that make Boone and the surrounding area a good place to live. Quality of life and a strong sense of community are the biggest reasons that I chose to live in Boone after finishing school in 1985,” Mangum said. “I believe if that you are fortunate enough to make a living because of the community that you live in, you have a responsibility to give back to the community if you can.”
Mangum also said that he participated in the founding of F.A.R.M. Cafe through serving as a member of the original Boone board of directors.
Overall, the event benefits both local businesses and the restaurant itself.
“Buy Boone Lunch has become a great partnership with local businesses and organizations. It is a win-win where a business or organization is visibly out serving and meeting a need (food insecurity) in the community,” Brown said via email. “All funds that are donated for meals on those days are helping to support the effort to provide free/low cost meals to persons experiencing food insecurity.”
For more information on Buy Boone Lunch such as future event dates and participants, visit F.A.R.M. Cafe’s website at farmcafe.org.