By Emily Hall
Every Thursday, Olympic College students have the chance to enjoy a delicious, home-style lunch. Just a five minute walk from campus, the Lincoln Avenue Bible Church across the street from OC's Bremerton campus hosts a hangout place for students, also known as the Down Under Cafe. Open Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Cafe is a lively spot where students can savor a complimentary meal made by an all-volunteer staff.
Students who dine at the Cafe are always in for a surprise. One week, they served a hearty shepherd's pie, very fitting for the chilly autumn weather. The week following, they made spaghetti. All of the food is funded by donations from the church congregation and preparation is compliant with the Washington State food safety standards.
The Cafe welcomes both students from OC and Bremerton High School. Each week, classmates can catch up over hot coffee while engaging in meaningful conversations with the staff members who help make it a success.
Dale Swenson, a representative of the Down Under Cafe, states that the Cafe has two objectives: to create a safe environment for students to talk about Christ and to establish a friendly place to eat. He and Bob Tucker, another representative, want all students, regardless of background, to feel at home.
The Lincoln Avenue Bible Church is a historic landmark in Bremerton. Built between the years of 1951-1954, the church's objective was to be significant for God in the community. The church includes a kitchen, a gym, an auditorium where performances are routinely held and numerous classrooms where schoolchildren study the Bible each Sunday.
Despite the name, the Down Under Cafe has nothing to do with Australia, except for the laid-back atmosphere and the volunteers' exceptional hospitality. Students enter the Cafe on the ground floor, which is actually the basement floor of the 3-story building.
When finished with lunch, students may either come back for seconds or visit the game room, which offers many activities such as foosball.
Regardless of religious affiliation, all students are encouraged to take a break and come to the Down Under Cafe every Thursday and enjoy a free, delicious midday meal!