Feel free to email us: info@mclennanhunger.org
Posted by: In: Archives 06 Nov 2012 0 comments

Here for the People

By Charlie Foster

“We’re here for the people. That’s why we work, and we love it. The people are what matter,” the receptionist reflected.

And that’s the most important value of McLennan County Hunger Coalition (MCHC).

“We see a lot of people come through here. A lot of families and individuals come in here and use our programs,” said Linda Parker, receptionist for MCHC and Caritas. “They come in here to get assistance. If they don’t have the money to get food or get the things they need from the store, they come here to us, and we love to work with those people.”

The purpose of MCHC is to assist the citizens of McLennan County and the surrounding areas with government funding food benefits. Some of these benefits include SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and the Caritas food pantry.

But the underlying purpose of being there, says Parker, is to get to know the people.

“My neighbor across the street uses our services. She comes in here every other month, and I got to know her through living near her and seeing her here,” Parker said.

“We’ve developed a relationship,” she continued. “Now we carpool. She takes my grandson and her niece to school, and I pick them up every day. I value our relationship, and I’m so glad I met her here.”

But those relationships are also valued on the client end, as well.

April Satler has used the services of MCHC and Caritas since she was a little kid.

“I would come here with my older sister when I was real young,” she said. “I came here because I know it, and I used to work here, too. This is a good place to get help. I know the people that work here, like Ms. Parker. She treats everyone with respect, like family. Everyone here does, and that’s why I like it here.”

Gladdys Harris of Itasca has the similar reaction to the people of MCHC and Caritas.

“I used to come here with my church to serve other people, but now I come here for myself occasionally.”

Harris, 73, feels comfortable when she works with the people at MCHC and Caritas.

“I associate this place [MCHC and Caritas] with a good place,” she said.

Satler, 26, feels the same and advises people to come here.

“If people need help, this is a good place to come,” she said. “A lot of us already know about it, but some people just don’t have a clue. This is where you need to be to get help.”

“You become a family when you get to know the people here, and that’s what’s important,” Parker concluded. “My advice to those in need is to search the Bible and look to God for your answers. But if you can’t do that and He points you here, we want to change a life and make a difference for you.”

BU helps MCHC, steps out of Baylor bubble

By Caitlin Giddens

It’s no secret there is a separation between Baylor University and Waco. While Pat Neff radiates across the interstate, nearly 30 percent of Wacoans live below the poverty line. Baylor students and faculty hope to bridge this gap by working with McLennan County Hunger Coalition (MCHC) and partner organizations.

MCHC collaborates with local pantries, businesses, congregations, food producers and individuals to provide food security across Central Texas. As a coalition, MCHC relies on communication among other nonprofits. Act Locally Waco, a website created by Baylor Director of Continuous Improvement Ashley Thornton, serves as a bulletin board for nonprofit and volunteer organizations. Each Friday, Thornton sends an email to 600 subscribers, updating them on the current volunteer opportunities. Thornton may be an unconventional volunteer, but her efforts are essential for MCHC’s outreach.

“I don’t volunteer at the food panty or package up food, but I run the website that provides information to these organizations,” Thornton said. “Act Locally isn’t a solution – it’s a stirring pot. It’s encouraging because the email shows you’re not alone. There are people who care about nonprofits.”

When Thornton moved to Waco, she struggled to find a volunteer program that fit with her schedule. But she felt called to step outside of the Baylor bubble and volunteer for the Waco community.

“I found there aren’t volunteer opportunities for people who working during the day,” Thornton said. “Some of us have different gifts and there is a place for that. When I moved here, I would go to Hunger Coalition meetings and education meetings and expected to find the same people. They weren’t the same people, even though these are related issues. If we are going to move forward, we need to connect the [nonprofit] circles. “

Act Locally fuses information for nonprofits across Central Texas, but it is especially vital for MCHC’s constant communication with its partners. MCHC’s Program Director for Helpings Esther Morales met Thornton before she created Act Locally. They’ve worked together since Act Locally was established in 2008.

“Act Locally allows Hunger Coalition to use the website for referrals and collaborate with other fighting hunger agencies in our community,” Morales said. “I believe all volunteers are important to the nonprofit sector. They are the bloodline to making any project become a reality.”

Baylor’s assistance with MCHC and SNAP

In addition to providing food security, MCHC created SNAP Outreach, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP, which is housed in Caritas, helps people file for federal benefits and food stamps. As a public relations intern for Caritas, Baylor senior Kaitlin Ramby has been exposed to poverty in Waco. Ramby has stepped out of the Baylor bubble to witness MCHC’s partnership with Caritas to run SNAP.

“I think a lot of Baylor students realize there is a need in Waco, but since they aren’t up close and personal with it they don’t understand the gravity of Waco’s situation,” Ramby said. “At Caritas, I see tons of families come in who don’t have food to put on the table. The Caritas building is almost never empty.”

Following the explosion in West on April 17, MCHC, Caritas and other nonprofits provided help to Waco’s neighbor community.

“Caritas immediately updated the Facebook page to alert people that we were taking donations of food, clothing, furniture and other items for relief in West,” Ramby said. “The donations to West became so overwhelming, we actually had to turn some of it away. It was great to see the organization I work for making such an effort.”

Baylor students and faculty strive to bridge the gap between the university and city. But MCHC will continue to need help when students leave for summer. Morales stressed the need for hunger relief in the hotter months.

“We need volunteers to help with  and summer food drives, as well as outreach information and neighborhood walks,” Morales said. “I always encourage those interested in volunteering to attend one of MCHS’s monthly meetings.”

Making a Difference and Giving Back

By Kasey McMillian

The McLennan County Hunger Coalition is housed by the new facility of Caritas and even though they are separate organizations, they are both working towards the same goal of feeding the needy. “We’re working hand in hand for the same thing and it’s to help the less fortunate,” Ericka Swain, the pantry manager for Caritas, said.

“I think it’s a comfort for the clients to come in and see a newly renovated and cleaner facility because it doesn’t feel good to have to go to a place to get help that’s in bad condition and now here, it’s a professional environment,” Swain said. Caritas and the Hunger Coalition have been successful over the past years but the new facility insures more opportunity to expand the program to more clients in need.

Caritas and the Hunger Coalition have similar goals of:

-program enlargement

-having more partnerships with agencies

-having more outreaches within the community

-sending in the client’s application completed to eliminate a lot of the case workers job or steps at the health and human services office

-getting some medical professional to come and share their expertise

-coming up with money for more grants

Working for Caritas, Ericka Swain is the pantry manager and she is in charge of managing volunteers and workers, making sure food is stocked and organized in the pantry in a timely manner, preparing food for clients, and makes sure the warehouse is delivering enough food regularly to Caritas. Caritas pantry also gives out diapers, hygiene products, and also cleaning products. “The most rewarding part [it happens at least once a day] is the joy in a client’s eyes when we come to them with the list of things that they’ve asked for whether it’s diapers for food or if they need some soap or whatever they needed,” Swain said. “It’s just the satisfying gratitude that you get for smalls things that people take for granite every day. “

Over the years, “Spring onto Summer” has been a large event for both Caritas the Hunger Coalition and helps benefit families during the summer while their children are home from school and aren’t provided with meals. Waco Independent School District has partnered with the Hunger Coalition for food drives, the Child Nutrition Services with the Texas Stop Hunger Golf Tournament and the homeless connect with veterans and with other agencies at the Convention Center.

“Something that the board officers [of the Hunger Coalition] are looking for in 2013-2014 is coming up with some great ideas for fundraisers and were venturing and looking into it,” Esther Morales, program director for the SNAP outreach programs, said. “We need something that’s gonna catch people’s attention and to support on the issues that we fill that were making a difference in the community.”

Working with the Hunger Coalition, Esther Morales’s job helps with a federal benefits program called SNAP; formally known as Food Stamps is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It provides monthly funding for people that need help paying for groceries.

SNAP was established with Caritas because they noticed the incline of people coming in more weekly instead of monthly and then realized people were not utilizing the federal benefits program. Therefore, by having this program there in the new facility, employees are doing all the work, filling out applications, organizing documents and translating for clients who have a hard time reading and writing in English. This facility has impacted the growth of both organizations and because of the helpful environment the clients in the office has inclined.

“I am primarily I am responsible first and foremost to make sure we’re doing everything possible to encourage people and families and individuals to get educated on the benefits for applying for SNAP benefits, that’s my primary role,” Morales said. “But through the years it has expanded into the direction of an Executive director role, because I also write grants to sustain the program through funding for the helpings and then I’ll write grants to sustain some of the summer meal programs. I also have written grants for Waco ISD and backpack program when it first initiated through Texas Department of Development Culture.”

Both employees, Esther Morales and Ericka Swain relied on food stamps during their life and they understand the importance of what Caritas and the Hunger Coalition are trying to do within the community.

“I just want to make sure that we get to a point to where our community and our children and our children’s children and our neighbors and friends, that we all are living a healthier life,” Morales said.

And both organizations have great ideas on how to expand for the future together and separately to make their organizations bigger and better than they already are now.

“I would like to see more clients come in because I believe there’s more people out there that need help and outreach in the community because we’ve got this new facility,” Swain said. “There’s so much more we can do then just feed, there are so many other needs and I think that we need to take advantage of that.”

Each year, one week before Thanksgiving, National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness co-sponsor National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. During this week, a number of schools, communities and cities take part in a nationwide effort to bring greater awareness to the problems of hunger and homelessness.

This year the events for Waco’s Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week are as follows:

Sunday November 11th

The week of awareness begins at the Church Under the Bridge (I-35 and S. 4th Street) at 11:00 a.m.  Join a diverse crowd in praise and worship together.

Monday November 12th

Join our letter writing and advocacy efforts at Common Grounds (1123 South 8th), The World Cup Café (1321 North 15th) and the Baylor Chapel from 9:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m.  We will be writing to our local, state and national governmental leaders expressing our concern and asking them not to cut spending for important hunger, shelter, and poverty legislation, as well as encouraging them to act on behalf of those living in poverty.

Wednesday November 14th

Join us for dinner and a movie.  Come out to the Jubilee Theatre (1319 N. 15th St.) at 7:00 p.m. to watch the film, “First, Last and Deposit” a movie about the brutal reality of poverty and homelessness in America.  Gather for dinner with your friends at one of the surrounding restaurants for a pre-movie meal.  Restaurants include:  D’s Mediterranean (1503 Colcord Ave), Kitok’s (1815 North 18th Street), the World Cup Cafe (1321 North 15th St.), San Diego (1229 N 18th St), Double R Burgers (1810 Herring Ave), and El Charro Tapatio (1615 West Waco Drive).

Thursday November 15th

Volunteer at one of Waco’s local food pantries, Shepherd’s Heart (1401 North 34th).  3:00p.m. to 6:00 p.m, Witness the need in our community first hand.

Friday November 16th

Attend a meeting of the Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition at the VA (4800 Memorial Drive, Bldg. 6) 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Participate in the local Food for Families Food Drive as a contributor, or/and as a volunteer.  Call Khaliah Warren at Caritas, 254-753-4593 for information.

Saturday November 17th

Celebrate the one year anniversary of the Waco Downtown Farmers Market (400 South University Parks Drive) 9AM to 12:00PM

Download a .pdf version of the flyer here and here



Posted by: In: Archives 15 Oct 2012 0 comments

This Friday, 7:30pm, a dramatic reading of the Broadway play called “12 Angry Jurors” will be performed this Friday, October 12, 7:30pm, at Jubilee Theatre, 1319 N. 15th St. Examining what it means to truly perform citizenship and honestly dole out justice, 12 Angry Jurors, Sherman L. Sergel’s modern adaptation of Reginald Rose’s classic play, contains intense, hearty performances in its thoughtful production. Produced by West of Broadway as both a literacy and civic responsibility tool, the play operates interactively, asking the audience to vote on the defendant’s guilt or innocence and, therefore, possibly predict the outcome. The presentation is both entertaining and informative as it reveals 12 jurors locked in an anteroom to consider the fate of a young defendant accused of murdering his father. Reflecting the increasingly rude and selfish American population vociferously protesting at health meetings, deliberations sometimes grow angry and tense. Jurors must question their own prejudices, responsibilities and consequences of their votes. Donations only.

A panel discussion will follow for about 30 minutes.

“The Line”…

“The Most Important Film You’ll See This Year” says Jim Wallis, Sojourners Magazine.
Free film this Tuesday, Oct 16, 7:00pm, Jubilee Theatre, 1319 N. 15th

Written and directed by Emmy Award-winning producer Linda Midgett, a 40-minute film called “The Line,” chronicles the very real stories of four realpeople struggling with real poverty in America today. You’ll meet a banker in the suburban Midwest who used to earn six-figures a year and now, after the economic collapse, must go to a food bank to feed his three kids; a fisherman on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana who has watched his livelihood and his culture wash away in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and a devastating off-shore oil spill; a blue collar guy in North Carolina who worked hard his whole life but lost his job, became homeless, and started over as a restaurant bus boy; and a single mom in Chicago who battles daily to ensure that her son is safe, healthy, and has the opportunity to go to college. The idea of the film is simple: People living in and struggling with poverty telling their own stories. They are beautiful, inspiring, challenging, and full of grace. In a word, their stories are powerful. The kind you never forget. The kind that make you not only feel something, but compel you to do something.

A discussion will follow led by Dr. Kenneth Moerbe (McLennan County Hunger Coalition) and Joe Gatlin (pastor of Hope Fellowship).

Posted by: In: Archives 12 Oct 2012 0 comments

October 9, 2012: On Saturday, October 20th, Trinity Lutheran Church (Badger Ranch) located at 2 Ritchie Road, Woodway, will host an Oktoberfest Dinner, with live music entertainment from members of the “Star Over Texas Jamboree”, plus silent auction to benefit the programs of Lutheran Ministries and Social Services of Waco (LMSS-Waco). LMSS-Waco is a local Waco Christian non-profit best known for its Legal Assistance Project, a pro se civil legal aid clinic which serves to educate persons unable to afford the services of an attorney and who, therefore, must learn how to represent themselves in civil court.


LMSS-Waco is listed in the Texas State Bar Directory of Services for Low-Income Texans. It primarily serves residents of McLennan and Hillsboro counties on issues such as child custody and elder law. There is a tremendous need for legal services for the poor in our country and Texas is no exception. Traditional Legal Aid can serve only about 2 out of every 5 income-eligible persons who apply for their services. In 2011, the average annual income for the families served through the pro se clinic of LMSS-Waco was $15,146 per year. For a family of four, this income level is $7,904 less than the poverty line for the state of Texas.


In 2008, the federal government passed the Increasing Adoptions Act, which mandated that permanent family placement – rather than foster care – of abused and neglected children was to be the goal of Child Protective Service agencies in every state. In the past, family members who could not afford the typical $1,500-3,000 up-front retainer (to obtain this permanent legal custodial placement) had no other option than to lose the child to the foster care system. Now they have another choice in Central Texas, through the use of the Legal Assistance Project of LMSS-Waco.


The dinner will be served starting at 6:30pm and the event will end at 9:30pm.  Tickets are priced as follows: $25 in advance and $35 at the door, with table sponsorships available for $250 (single table) and $500 for two tables. The menu will feature traditional German sausages with appropriate sides. All funds raised at this event will be matched, dollar for dollar through a matching grant through Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation.


Lutheran Ministries and Social Services of Waco is dedicated to bringing hope and peace of mind — to those in our community too poor to afford the services of an attorney for a civil legal issue — by providing access to justice with compassion. Our emphasis is on doing God’s work as we are instructed to do in Micah 6:8, “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”




For more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Francine Lumbard, Director of Lutheran Ministries and Social Services of Waco (LMSS-Waco) call (254) 757-3402

Or contact her by email flumbard@lmss-waco.org

Posted by: In: Archives 03 Oct 2012 0 comments Tags: ,

Sacrifice just one meal

Most of us have never missed a meal due to famine or poverty. The McLennan County Hunger Coalition (MCHC) is sponsoring their 3rd annual Fast of Caring on Tuesday, October 16—World Food Day. The Hunger Coalition would like to encourage everyone to participate by sacrificing their midday meal on October 16 in order to experience, first-hand, the feeling of hunger. The event is simple but powerful in its potential to focus upon our own blessings and the needs of others, locally and globally. A short ceremony will be held on October 16th, at The Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry at1401 North 34th Street in Waco from 12:15 to 12:45 for participants from various companies, churches and organizations.  We will also take this opportunity to honor people in our community to who are working to alleviate hunger and poverty both here and around the world.


Your donations at work in the community

Participants are encouraged to donate the cost of the lunch they will be missing (approximately $7.50). Donations are strictly voluntary and it is not necessary to participate in the fast. All funds donated through the McLennan County Hunger Coalition will go to help fund the efforts of various food pantries and hunger ministries in Waco.


Needed: One contact person to represent your local business

We appreciate all that you do to help to fight hunger in our own community and hope that you can find one person in your organization to help spread the word about the Fast of Caring in your business. Please find enclosed a company registration form.  Please let us know if you will participate and if you plan on joining us at Shepherd’s Heart. Your contact person will spread the word at your organization, collect from those who would like to donate, and be responsible to keep record of contributions.  Brett Case, MCHC VISTA, will pick up the donations on Monday, October 18th or you may bring them to Friday’s ceremony.


Please call or e-mail Kenneth Moerbe or Brett Case to let us know if your organization plans on participating.


Kenneth Moerbe                                                                        Brett Case

McLennan County Hunger Coalition Chair Person                  McLennan County Hunger Coalition VISTA

254- 715-0143                                                                            254-224-8486

email: kpmoerbe@grandecom.net                                     email: vista@mclennanhunger.org

Posted by: In: Archives 14 Sep 2012 0 comments

 The Wheels of Sharing Mobile Food Pantry stops at the following locations in McLennan County:

Every 1st Tuesday of the month at 123 E. Texas Ave in Mart, TX

Every 2nd Saturday of the month at Paul Quinn Campus, Waco, TX

Every 3rd Friday of the month at 320 Falls St, Marlin, TX

Every 3rd Tuesday of the month at Texas State Technical College. Mazanec Rd, Waco TX

More information about the mobile food pantry can be found on the capital area food bank website here

 11 a.m. – 1:00pm

Free, healthy food for your family!

 Get help applying for Food Stamps

Food distributed could include:

meat • beans • canned vegetables

soup • cereal • potatoes • canned fruit

rice • pasta • pasta sauce • other nutritious foods

A free community service brought to you by:

Capital Area Food Bank of Texas and Shepherd’s Heart

Posted by: In: Archives 14 Sep 2012 0 comments Tags: , , , ,


The Heart of Texas CROP Hunger Walk has set a goal of 200 Walkers and hopes to raise $5,000.00 to help stop hunger and poverty in the Waco community and around the world. A portion of the funds from the walk will go to Caritas of Waco. Last year, some 80 walkers braved the drought-breaking rain to raise more than $4,000 in the local CROP Hunger Walk. This year’s walk will take place on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 14, at Bledsoe Miller Park (300 Martin Luther King Blvd.) Registration will begin at 2:00 and the walk will begin at 3:00. CROP Hunger Walks are held in more than 2,000 cities in the United States, all during the year, involving hundreds of faith communities. With the theme “Ending hunger one step at a time,” walkers proclaim their solidarity with the millions of people around the world who have to walk long distances to find food and water—as well as with the millions of people served by local food pantries, food banks and meal sites in our own country.  A portion of the funds from every CROP Hunger Walk goes to a local agency that serves hungry people. The local recipient for this year’s walk is Caritas of Waco.

Participants in the CROP hunger walk recruit friends and members of their congregations to sponsor them as they walk. Registration and preliminary activities begin at 2:00 pm and participants will start walking at 3:00. The 5K route goes from Bledsoe-Miller Park (300 Martin Luther King Blvd), up the Brazos River Walk to the Herring Avenue bridge and across, down through the Pecan Bottoms of Cameron Park along University Parks Drive to the Washington Street bridge, and back to Bledsoe-Miller Park. For those who don’t think they can walk for five kilometers (3.2 miles), there is a “Golden Mile” route. Fun prizes will be awarded to various walkers—including for Best Costume.

For more information about the Heart of Texas CROP Hunger Walk, contact Katie Cook at Seeds of Hope 254/755-7745 or email seedseditor@clearwire.net.

2012CROP flyer2


Posted by: In: Archives 01 Sep 2012 0 comments
 World Hunger Relief, Inc. will host its Fall Farm Day Festival from 9am-4pm on Saturday, October 27.  
There will be farm-fresh food, tours of the farm, hayrides, children’s art activities, and

demonstrations and items for sale from local artisans. Plants, grass-fed meat, and seeds will be for sale. Live music will be

played throughout the day.
Education and information booths will also be featured.
World Hunger Relief, Inc. is a non-profit Christian organization dedicated to the alleviation of hunger throughout the world through training in sustainable agriculture techniques, hunger awareness education, and participation in holistic community development projects around the world.
Directions: From Waco, go north on I-35. Take Exit 339 (Lake Shore Drive). Go left under the interstate and turn right (North) onto Hwy 77. Follow the signs to World Hunger Relief, Inc. World Hunger Relief is located at 356 Spring Lake Rd.
For more information call 254-799-5611 or email: info@worldhungerrelief.org. Information about WHRI can also be found at:http://worldhungerrelief.org.
Posted by: In: Archives 24 Aug 2012 0 comments

The future you want.

Job skills.  Life skills. 

Basic Computer Skills

Register for FREE night classes 

Christian Women’s Job Corps

Classes start August 27

Tues. & Thurs., 6:00PM-9:00PM

4112 Memorial Drive in Waco

Call today: #254-757-0416

If you know any women who would benefit from job skills training, life skills training, and basic computer skills, please tell them about CWJC night classes.  These classes are specifically designed for daytime working women (9AM-5PM), women taking college classes during the day, and others who cannot attend the CWJC daytime program and need night programming.For more info visit http://cwjcwaco.org/