Pay what you can: AEPi sponsors monthly F.A.R.M. Cafe event

Laura Boaggio, Reporter

One in six people do not know where their next meal is coming from, according to F.A.R.M. Cafe. Thanks to App State fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, Boone residents didn’t need to worry about their meals last Wednesday. 

F.A.R.M. Cafe hosts Buy Boone Lunch, where local organizations pay a $500 sponsorship fund to help cover meal costs and labor for the day. 

Anyone can volunteer for an hour in exchange for a free meal at F.A.R.M. Cafe, and patrons can pay more than the suggested donation for their meal, which helps cover the cost for those who can’t afford their own, according to the F.A.R.M Cafe website. 

AEPi sponsored this month’s Buy Boone Lunch, a monthly donation event that helps fund F.A.R.M. Cafe. 

If the entire donation is not used that day, the excess money helps feed those in need, executive director Renee Boughmen said.

“The sponsor is given a table tent which says they’re contributing that month and gives information about their organization,” Boughmen said.

For the month of August, tables were decorated with papers adorning the AEPi symbol. 

Aaron Carpenter, president of AEPi, said the fraternity raised donation money by hosting a gaming tournament with Boone Melee, a Super Smash Bros league in Boone.

The event charged $5 per person and raised close to $600.

“We got local companies to sponsor us and donate some things, as well as prizes,” Carpenter said. 

Senior AEPi member and interdisciplinary studies major Josh Bloch had the idea since his early college years to participate in Buy Boone Lunch, Carpenter said. 

“He had been to F.A.R.M. Cafe before, and a few of us are volunteers,” Carpenter said. 

The fraternity was unable to tackle this goal when they were first founded, but after building up the organization and raising money, they were able to support the local nonprofit. 

Wednesday was AEPi’s first time contributing to Buy Boone Lunch, and Carpenter said he can see them participating again in the future. 

The event has existed for 2 1/2 to three years and many local businesses are involved, such as 4 Forty Four Construction, Appalachian Mountain Brewery and ASU Diversity Scholars, according to the F.A.R.M. Cafe website. 

The Mast General Store also donates to Buy Boone Lunch annually, said F.A.R.M. Cafe manager Kim Short and employee Melissa Holme. 

“Businesses will often come in and serve (and) see how their money is being spent,” Boughmen said. “Some even get aprons made for the day.”