This article was published in The Appalachian.
After 92 years on King Street, the Boone Drug lunch counter will close in December, making room for the Feeding All Regardless of Means (F.A.R.M.) Café.
The café is part of One World Everybody Eats, a national organization designed to relieve hunger at the local level. Under the nonprofit’s business model, diners can pay for their meal via donations or volunteer time at the restaurant, or they can choose not to pay for their meal.“Essentially it’s called a community kitchen, which is not a soup kitchen,” board member Linda Coutant said. “A soup kitchen might just be where you hand out free food to indigent people. But a community kitchen, on the other hand, is where everybody eats together.”
Staffing and support for the café will be mostly volunteer-based, according to a press release. The organization will seek student support at an interest meeting in Plemmons Student Union’s McCrae Peak Room, to be held Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s easily accessible for students and it’s a good cause because it gives people who can’t pay for food the opportunity to give back by volunteering,” said Molly Thompson, senior public relations major and F.A.R.M. Café media relations liaison. “It’s a great way for students to help relieve hunger in Boone.”
Although the closing of the lunch counter marks a new beginning for the community, it’s also an ending for its employees – including two Appalachian State University students.
Junior appropriate technology major Ethan Hardin and senior history major Adam Frazier have worked at the historic drugstore’s lunch counter for over a year. Both said working at Boone Drug was a less-than-typical college work experience.
“It has helped me get to know what people outside the college campus are like and see the locals and get to know them,” Hardin said. “It’s good experience to not just know the college crowd. There are a lot of opportunities to plug into the Appalachian community, but not a lot of chances to plug into the Boone community. So that’s been cool.”
Although Frazier is disappointed about losing his job, he said he’s more upset for the women who have “devoted their lives” to the restaurant.
“I like working with these women,” he said. “It’s a different perspective than just working with college students.”
Hardin said that although the lunch counter has been consistently understaffed, it has helped him draw closer to his coworkers.
“I don’t think I’ve had a work family that works as well as we do,” he said. “I’m going to miss the place, that’s for sure. I’m mostly going to miss the people I work with.”