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December 2, 2021

JCCC removes obstacles to help students thrive in and out of the classroom

Johnson County Community College’s Student Basic Needs Center (SBNC) is anything but basic.  While it does help students provide for their own basic needs through food and housing assistance, the center accomplishes so much more. Its mission is to provide information and resources to combat the hardships that adversely affect students’ ability to complete their academic, professional and personal goals.

“There are many obstacles students have to overcome to persist in school,” said Steve Franklin, Coordinator of the SBNC. “By removing these barriers, we are doing a great service for our students, so they can focus on their schooling, get through, graduate and move on to the next phase of life.”

A Centralized Hub

"We want to change the perception that it is somehow shameful to need services from a pantry. We’re knocking down barriers and removing some of that stigma."— Steve Franklin, Coordinator, Student Basic Needs Center

JCCC’s Model U.N. established an on-campus food pantry in 2011. In 2019, the Student Basic Needs Center was created as more than just a food pantry. A space that was formerly part of the Student Lounge (COM 319) was selected as the new venue. The idea was to combine many services into one central location: the Cav Cupboard food pantry; assistance with housing, transportation, and social services (including legal, medical and childcare); and equipment loans, such as laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots.

The SBNC is run by Franklin and a team of Student Ambassadors. The center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and students need to show their JCCC or photo ID. The goal is to always have an ambassador on duty so Franklin can meet one-on-one with students.

Removing the Stigma

“We want to change the perception that it is somehow shameful to need services from a pantry,” Franklin said. “We’re knocking down barriers and removing some of that stigma.” If students wish to remain anonymous, they can make an appointment and shop after hours.

Many JCCC students are the sole providers for their families, and they sometimes struggle to stay in school, take care of young children and run a household. “The support of donors is instrumental toward helping students facing hardship, so they can focus on their studies,” Franklin said.

Breaking Down Barriers

One student’s family was facing eviction due to a dispute with a landlord over overdue rent. The student also needed assistance with an auto repair and food. The SBNC referred the student to Kansas Legal Services to get clarification about the eviction situation. Emergency funding through the Student Assistance Fund and COVID-19 Relief Fund helped pay the overdue rent and other expenses.

The student was also introduced to an auto repair service that allows customers to pay on a sliding income scale. In addition, the student used Cav Cupboard and the Harvesters Food Locator service to eliminate the family’s food insecurity.

Monetary donations through the JCCC Foundation are used to purchase food, personal care items and school supplies. While items may also be donated directly to the Student Basic Needs Center, monetary donations allow the center to replenish supplies as inventory runs low and to fulfill requests for specific items.

How You Can Help

Donor support makes a world of difference for students in need. If you would like to help, give to the Student Basic Needs Center through the JCCC Foundation. Your generosity breaks down barriers and helps students succeed at JCCC and in life.

Donate to support student basic needs