Behind the Reference desk on the third floor of the George A. Spiva Library is the Lion Co-op. The donation-based pantry serves all Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) students and employees by offering quality food and personal hygiene products to combat food insecurity.
The Lion Co-op opened in 2018 at the FEMA shelter. Since moving to their new location in January, numbers have risen for the pantry.
“Being in the library makes us more visible and accessible,” said Dr. Andrea Cullers, director of the Lion Co-op. “We’ve had 40 visits from students and staff within the first two weeks of school. We want students to know who we are.”
The pantry offers nonperishable items such as canned goods, noodles, and fruit cups as well as perishable foods like milk and eggs. They also have two deep freezers for bread and venison, donations from hunters through the state’s Share the Harvest program. The Lion Co-op has added a new glass door refrigerator, allowing students to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
“So much of our student population are first generation, working full time, and nontraditional, so the Lion Co-op is really helping bridge that gap,” said Cullers.
The Lion Co-op can also help students with SNAP enrollments, a federal food-purchasing assistance program, and offer connections to other resources. For those who wish to work with the pantry, internships and volunteer positions are available.
“We always welcome donations, but we’re in need of bread,” said Cullers. “We’re also looking for grab-and-go snacks for students when they go to class.”
Missouri Southern State University