Published September 1, 2023
The DC3 Conq Care Cabinet program, which was organized in 2022 to provide food and other items to students in need, has expanded to four locations around the college’s main campus. Pictured above is the new cabinet that was installed in the DC3 Library on Aug. 28. [Photo by Lakin Scheck]
As of the fall 2023 semester, Dodge City Community College (DC3) has doubled the number of locations for its Conq Care Cabinet program.
Designed to hold various nonperishable foods, hygiene items, and school supplies for DC3 students in need, the initial two Conq Care Cabinets were located in the first-floor lobby of the Student Union and the second-floor hallway of the Humanities Building, when the program began in March 2022.
However, in summer 2023, the cabinet located in Humanities was moved to the Student Achievement and Resources Center (SARC) in the Science & Math Building. And at the beginning of this semester, two new cabinets—one on the first floor of Humanities and one in the DC3 Library—were added, doubling the size of the project.
“The Library was chosen because they have a very caring staff and later hours than some of the other locations,” Jay Gooldy, DC3 Instructor of English and program initiator, said. “They were already providing a few items for students in need, so it seemed like a natural fit.”
Since the cabinet’s arrival on Aug. 28, Holly Mercer, DC3 Library Director, said there has been an “incredibly positive” response from students.
“Within just the first hour of installation, we observed students actively using the cabinet to access the available options,” she said. “This immediate uptake suggests the cabinet fulfills a very real and significant need among our student community.”
Bringing this type of program to the DC3 campus is another example of the college’s overall commitment to student success, she said.
“Attending college can undeniably present financial challenges, especially when it comes to covering essential needs such as food and hygiene supplies,” she said. “By providing these Conq Care Cabinets, the hope is to alleviate some of the financial burden, allowing students to allocate their often limited funds more toward their educational needs.”
In addition to the new cabinets, Gooldy said there also will be new groups coming alongside DC3’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) students to help stock them.
“PTK is still in charge of the Humanities cabinet,” he said. “It was moved to the first floor so that it would be easier for them to access with their food cart. But the SARC, Student Services, and the Library will all fill their own.”
Like the original Conq Care Cabinets, the new ones added this semester were custom made by Kitchens Inc. of Dodge City, Gooldy said.
“DC3 couldn’t ask for a better partner for an endeavor like this than Kitchens Inc. Scott Bogner and his staff are always willing to help,” he said. “One thing that people may not realize is that these are really high-quality cabinets designed specifically for our needs. Kitchens Inc. has made a significant investment in the wellbeing of our student body of Dodge City Community College, and we are a better campus for it. The cabinet construction is first class and will ensure that they will last for years to come.”
The Conq Care Cabinet program, which he said began as a service-learning project in one of his summer 2021 preparatory composition classes, has already “eclipsed any expectations” he and his students originally had.
“The students who I worked with still talk about the service-learning process, and our current students take full advantage of our resources,” he said. “Faculty and staff have been a godsend in filling the cabinets. Not only do they participate in the donation competitions that we have, but I also catch them adding items when they think nobody is looking. The success of the project is really a testament to the character of our faculty and staff.”
For more information on how to donate to the Conq Care Cabinet program, please contact Jay Gooldy at email@example.com.
By Lance ZieschDC3 Assistant Director of Marketing and Community Relations