College News

Barton’s “Cougar Supply Den” helps students in need

Barton Students utilize the "Cougar Supply Den" on the Barton County Campus.

August 31, 2021
Story by Joe Vinduska and Yuchen Wang Boswell
Photos by Yuchen Wang Boswell

Some college students have more to think about these days than going to classes and maintaining good grades. Some worry about where their next meal is coming from. To ease that concern, Barton Community College established a food pantry that offers quality food and necessities for free. Beginning this semester, the pantry upgraded to a new location with a new name, the Cougar Supply Den (CSD).

Vice President of Student Services Angie Maddy says the College has noticed the increasing needs of students. 

“It’s been pretty widely reported on the national front that an increasing number of college students faced significant need in terms of food, and basic necessities like shampoo, toothpaste, or bed sheets for a dorm mattress,” she said. “We’ve noted that with increasing frequency here at Barton as well. Over many years the concept of a ‘basic needs supply closet’ had been discussed at Barton.”

The Barton Food Pantry opened in 2017 and has continued to grow throughout the years. Central Kansas Upward Bound Project Director Patrick Busch is the founder and one of the volunteers for the CSD. He said usage of the resource has been increasing. 

"We have over 200 entries each month,” he said. “Since we started the pantry in 2017, it has supplied 20,000 pounds of food. Our check-in data shows that students have used the service over 3,000 times.”

The CSD is in the Learning Resource Center on the Great Bend campus. It now provides food, water, personal care items, Barton clothing, bedding supplies and cookware. All items are completely free to all students taking classes on campus. Any student can contact the office staff in student services to gain access. 

Several Barton employee volunteers help run the supply den. They make sure there are steady donations from various organizations from the local community and beyond. Once the food and supplies arrive, the staff organize and clean the items before they made their way to the supply room. 

Maddy said she is proud of the volunteers and all their efforts.

“Patrick Busch was really the driving force behind bringing this long-discussed concept to life,” she said. “The project has grown in amazing ways over the past few years and has proven to be incredibly beneficial to our students on the Barton County campus.”

Isabella Guedes is one of the many students that have benefited.

“When I got to Barton, I couldn’t believe we had a place where I would have free drinks and food,” she said. “This project helped me a lot. If it wasn’t for this resource, I would have had more difficulties during the semester when I couldn’t work.” 

Because of the experience Guedes had, she now became one of the student helpers who assists other Barton students access to the CSD.

Central Kansas Upward Bound Academic Coordinator Nolan Esfeld and Co-Founder of the CSD encourages all students to take advantage of their services.

“We're trying to remove all the obstacles, so students don’t have to worry about the food necessities, the major hygiene necessities, and the clothing stuff,” he said.

The CSD service hours are listed below:

•    Monday – Thursday 
7 to 8:30 a.m.
12:30 to 2 p.m.
6 to 8 p.m.

•    Fridays
7 to 8:30 a.m.
12:30 to 2p.m.
3 to 4:30 p.m.

Donations can be dropped off at the Learning Resource Center located in the middle of campus from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Monetary donations can be made to the Barton Foundation by sending checks to Foundation Office, 245 NE 30 Rd, Great Bend, KS, 67530 with “CSD” in the memo or donate online at For more information, please contact Patrick Busch at or (620) 786-1182.