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Big Turnout for Campus Supper


Sam Gutierrez was forced to tell diners to “go easy on the food” at a recent meal he cooked for students at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus (UBCO).

Wellspring volunteers gave away free ice cream to university students.

Sam Gutierrez

The shortage was caused when nearly double the usual number of hungry students showed up for Thursday Night Dinner, a weekly event hosted by Wellspring Christian Fellowship.

Gutierrez is the chaplain of Wellspring, a campus ministry at UBCO run in partnership with The Well Christian Reformed Church in Kelowna, and Classis British Columbia South East, a regional group of churches.

The record 56 students at the dinner might have been caused by the ministry’s giveaway earlier the same day. During a two-hour period that warm and sunny afternoon, volunteers handed out 400 free ice cream cones to grateful students. Gutierrez explained, “The idea was simple: Hand out free ice cream as a way of blessing students at UBCO. No gimmicks, no tricks, no catch. Just the gift of creamy, cold goodness.”

Lured by a hunger for both food and friendship, students came back to school that night to check out the free vegetarian dinner. “Before the meal I explained that both the ice cream and the dinner were a gift from the campus ministry. In giving gifts, we mirror God who is more generous than we could ever imagine! We respond appropriately to the gracious gift-giving of God by living lives of gratitude,” said Gutierrez.

Entering its third year at UBCO, Wellspring plans to expand its ministry by continuing to develop emerging student leaders, beginning a biweekly gathering for worship through song, and starting a campus Alpha program condensed to fit the academic calendar.

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