Missouri Southern’s ‘Lion Co-op’ launches ‘Adopt A Lion’ program

Program to help students, staff in need

Last November, Missouri Southern State University started the “Lion Co-op” to help students with basic needs, like food and personal items. Now, they’re starting another program for the holiday’s within the Lion Co-op, called “Adopt A Lion”.

Housed inside the shelter at the residence hall on Missouri Southern’s campus is the Lion Co-op. The Co-op opened it’s doors initially to help students with basic needs like food and personal items. But, as time went on, the student volunteers realized more needed to be done. Gil Salgado with the Co-op says “The normal college student is changing, it’s going far beyond what it use to be, so more people of lower economic statuses, and more people that have not experienced the privilege of others are starting to attend university, and so with that, there comes food insecurity and problems obtaining basic needs.”

So this year, they started “Adopt A Lion” where students in need can sign up and be matched with a sponsor to help provide for them during the upcoming winter break. That includes international students like Alexander Holofrish from the Ukraine. Holofrish says “I was really surprised by looking here, how many, how much resources are for students and I was really surprised because we don’t have it in Ukraine.”

For Holofrish, getting those basic needs, even something like shaving cream or toothpaste, can be a challenge. “We sometimes have a problem to buy something here because Joplin is…in Joplin, everything about cars, and I’m a student that doesn’t have a car.”

He comes to the Lion Co-op regularly for those needs and says he’s excited about the Adopt A Lion program. For Salgado, he’s excited not just about who they’re helping, but where the help is coming from. Salgado says “A lot of the donors have actually turned out to be faculty or MSSU Alumni so it’s all circled back into the community of Missouri Southern giving.”

So far they have 25 students signed up for the Adopt A Lion program.


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