DODGE CITY, Kan (WesternKansasNews.Com) –
Dodge City Community College (DC3) has expanded its student outreach with the newly established Conq Care Cabinets. The cabinets are designed to hold various nonperishable foods, hygiene items, and school supplies for DC3 students in need.
The cabinets were first suggested by Jay Gooldy, DC3 Instructor of English. Gooldy was teaching a preparatory composition class in the summer of 2021 when he decided to replace a dated essay assignment with a service-learning project.
“The students were looking for a way to be good stewards and make an impact on campus,” Gooldy said. “This idea became the Conq Care Cabinets, which is our own take on the blessing box. The idea is we fill the cabinet up, and then students, faculty and staff members take what they need. Then later, they leave what they can to fill it up again,” Gooldy said.
“I first brought in Gayla Rodenbur from the counseling office to talk to our class about making a difference, and she brought up how a food pantry can benefit the community,” Gooldy said. “Then, Chris Haselhorst in the DC3 Foundation talked to us about getting a sponsor to help obtain the cabinets.”
From there, Gooldy and his students decided to approach local businesses to see if they were interested in lending support to the project.
“We were either going to have to raise some money to get the cabinets or find a partner to donate them,” Gooldy said. “So, we went out and talked to CEO Scott Bogner at Kitchens Inc., in Dodge City, and he liked our pitch and provided the cabinets to us free of charge.”
Kerry Kuplic, Associate Professor of Vocal Music and Fine Arts Division Chair, is the faculty advisor for Kappa Psi, DC3’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). And he proposed that PTK could collaborate with Gooldy and his students on stocking the cabinets and then coordinate a way for PTK students to continue to resupply the cabinets for semesters to come.
“I immediately thought that PTK needed to get involved,” Kuplic said. “One of our hallmarks is service, and I knew this would be a powerful and effective way to live out our mission.”
Kuplic hosted a Broadway Live Concert, in the Little Theatre on March 10, and coordinated with PTK members on securing donations for the cabinets from concert guests.
“We received a substantial number of food and hygiene items, in addition to some generous monetary donations, from individuals and businesses,” Kuplic said. “The money will be used to purchase items to replenish the stock in the cabinets.”
The Conq Care Cabinets will be located in two locations on campus, which will help maximize exposure for any students in need.
“One cabinet is located in the Humanities building on the top floor, because it gets decent traffic, plus it’s directly across from my classroom, and I can maintain it,” Gooldy said. “Then, the other location is in the Student Union.”
The location outside of the Student Union was chosen for two reasons. The first was because of the high student foot traffic, and the second was due to its close proximity to Student Services and to the counseling offices.
“So, if Bennie Wiley-Bethea, DC3 Campus Counselor, has students who are in need, she can easily walk them over to the cabinet and help them,” Gooldy said.
Kitchens Inc. installed the cabinets in early March, and they are now fully stocked with food, hygiene items, and school supplies. For more information on how to donate to the Conq Care Cabinets, please contact Jay Gooldy at firstname.lastname@example.org or PTK at email@example.com.