ECM lunches satisfy stomach, soul with free, sustainable options

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The Ecumenical Campus Ministry at K-State provides food for a healthy stomach and a healthy social life with a “Real Food Lunch” every Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. These lunches are free to anyone who would like to participate and are located in the ECM Center on Denison Avenue.

“The idea sounds great,” said Jason Rose, senior in nuclear physics. “The food is a plus for students whose diet consist a lot of fried food and precooked items that don’t contain all the nutrients our bodies need.”

The ECM works with the Student Farm Club to provide healthy, sustainable food with the help of farm manager Aaron Yoder.

“Aaron Yoder has played a big role in the success of the Real Food Lunches by providing fresh produce from the student farm,” said David Jones, campus pastor.

All the food used for the Real Food Lunches is locally grown.

“We want to provide students with a healthy hot meal, with an emphasis on local, organic, sustainable and on fair trade,” said Breanna Clary, Real Food Lunch coordinator and student in biology and software engineering. “We feel these are important things to emphasize, not only for health benefits, but for social justice and environmental reasons as well.”

Clary said the community is responding.

“So far we have gotten off to a great start, with an average of about 30 people attending each week,” she said. “We have been working closely with Student Farm, and they have been providing many vegetables for the lunches and also composting the weekly scraps.”

Along with the Student Farm Club, Clary said the ECM hopes to collaborate with groups like Students for Environmental Action, Amnesty International and Fair Trade Advocates.

“Another goal we have is to create overlap with other student groups … and try to create a bigger impact on campus together,” Clary said. “So far we’ve had numerous members from each of these groups attend lunch and be supportive in its cause.”

Clary said the ECM is looking for volunteers to help with cooking the lunches on Wednesday evenings and setting up on Thursday mornings.

Exploring faith, coming together and meeting needs are the basic goals of the ministry. The ECM said students of any faith are invited to come and participate in activities.

“We welcome students of all faiths, or none,” Jones said.

Clary said the ministry is also planning a pumpkin carving contest on the evening of Oct. 27 and will have a pumpkin-themed lunch the next day.

Anyone who would like to volunteer for Real Food Lunches can contact the ECM at [email protected] For more information, visit the ECM website at k-state.edu/ecm.

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