Dollar Lunches Bring Students Together Every Tuesday

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By: Zach Viney, vineyza@mnstate.edu

You’ve probably walked by the blue house before, near the edge of MSUM’s campus on the corner of Seventh Ave. and 10th St. and thought nothing of it.  You’ve probably never thought it could be a place that would remind you of being back in the comfort of your parent’s home.

Every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., MSUM’s Crossroad Campus Ministry offers a Buck Lunch, a home cooked meal for students, and it only costs a buck.

“It’s a dollar, if they have it. If they don’t, its nothing,” said the Rev. Jon Olson, 56, of Crossroads Campus Ministry and MSUM alum. “Come and enjoy a meal and enjoy some conversation.”

The purpose is to give students that comforting feeling of being welcomed.

“It’s a nice homey environment to eat a meal,” said Emily Pekas, 22, MSUM senior and frequent Buck Lunch attendee.

Crossroads Campus Ministry recently went through some rebranding. Formerly known as the Lutheran Campus Ministry, the title change was made to become more inclusive. Crossroads holds numerous events to discuss faith and religious beliefs, but Buck Lunch is not one of them. You don’t have to be a Lutheran to attend the Buck Lunch.

“It’s for anybody, if they’re exploring faith, questioning faith or have no faith, or a strong faith. All are welcome,” said Olson.

The number of students attending the event has dwindled in recent years. Some semesters more people attend, some semesters it’s less. Olson believes student’s class schedules determines when they are able to join. Currently, he thinks about half a dozen student are attending each week.

These smaller groups make it easier to have good conversation, according to Mekas.

“It’s a smaller group of people to talk to, whereas the Dragon Cafe is so busy and noisy,” Mekas said.

Olson doesn’t know when the Buck Lunch started. The ministry has been a part of MSUM for about 64 years, Olson thinks. He has been back with the MSUM campus for four and a half years, and the event was running long before his time.

Olson does know why it began.

“The reason it started was to offer an affordable, healthy, balanced meal to hungry college students,” Olson said.

Much like how you wouldn’t be expected to make a reservation to eat dinner at your parent’s house, there is no need to call Crossroads before coming to a Buck Lunch.

“You don’t need to tell us when you’re coming, just come when you can,” said Olson. “What we want is for students to just walk in the doors.”

The next time you and your friends are looking for lunch, and Kise Commons isn’t serving chicken tortilla soup, and you don’t want to spend $10 on a sub sandwich, grab a buck and head over to the blue house over on the corner of Seventh Ave. and 10th St. You’ll smell the food cooking as you walk up the back porch. Remember, there is no need to knock, just head right in.

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