Due to the stay at home order enacted by the City of Joplin and state of Missouri, Missouri Southern’s Lion Co-Op decided it was necessary to follow that order to protect the students and volunteers. The Co-Op has closed its doors for the time being.

The pantry began operating November 2018 in an effort to fight food insecurity on campus. They are located in the FEMA shelter on campus in which they provide resources for students in a safe environment.

Although the Co-op is currently unavailable, students have many other resources for food necessities in the Joplin community. The Salvation Army, Souls Harbor, and Crosslines are just a few of the options. There are also many churches in the community that are willing to offer assistance including Church of Christ, Cornerstone Church, and First Christian Church.

The Lion Co-op still plans to help students anyway they can during this difficult time. There are ways people in the community are still able to help.

“Currently, someone can make a financial donation through the MSSU Foundation. Once campus is re-opened, there are donation boxes in Hearnes Hall, Health Sciences and Billingsly Student Center where donations can be dropped off. They can also contact the Lion Co-op through Facebook or email me to help arrange a donation drop-off,” said Dr. Andrea Cullers, associate professor in the Kinesiology Department and member of the Lion Co-Op task force.

For anybody in desperate need of supplies, there is a box with food and personal hygiene items located outside the entrance of the FEMA shelter.

SNAP is a federal nutrition assistance program that provides benefits to low-income individuals and families. Southern students can apply for these benefits provided by SNAP. The Co-op will share information to students about ways to find out if they are eligible to apply.

During this time of need, students can practice better eating habits on a fixed budget.

“Instead of buying prepared foods that are more expensive, this is a time that students can look into meal planning, grocery shopping and preparing foods that are less expensive. Buying rice and pasta, beans, frozen vegetables and cooking them with different spices and seasonings can allow students to eat healthy inexpensively,” said Cullers.

If there is an intern working for the Co-op in the summer, they will be open, but if not, the pantry will re-open mid-August.

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