With the way the economy is going, only a slight mumble of the words “free food” could, without a doubt, send everyone running in the same direction.
There are actually three organizations located on campus that serve an array of free meals to all Tyler Junior College students.
These organizations are the Association of Baptist Students (ABS), the Wesley Foundation founded by the United Methodist Church, and the Baptist Student Ministries (BSM). They welcome all students, regardless of religion.
“All the ministries, they all offer lunches to students on different days,” said Christy Parks, a Nursing major. “I know that ABS is on Mondays, Wesley is on Tuesdays and BSM is Wednesdays.”
Parks used to volunteer quite often for the Wesley Foundation.
“It’s just a really good opportunity to meet people and make friends,” he said.
Mark Jones, the director of Baptist Student Ministries seems to agree. He said he is convinced that people are hungry for more than just pancakes and a free lunch.
“I think given the state of our world and just the struggle of life, that people are hungry for answers, something to give their life meaning.”
Jones already believes that this year is going to be better than any of the previous ones.
“This first week we had about 150, and that was really kind of low. We’ll see a build through the middle of the semester, and, if it’s like any of the others, we’ll see anywhere from 250 to 300,” Jones said. “People do come here for the food, but also I think there’s a longing for community, for relationship.”
Jones added that the Baptist Student Ministries has had a successful history in the past and they are still continuing to improve.
“Basically, it’s a good way for us to connect as a church to the campus,” Sunny Farley, director of the Wesley Foundation, said. “There’s a lot of fun to be had on campus, and there’s a lot of fun to be had in faith as well. We’re not about boring stuff here.”