Waco Regional Office

About the Waco Office
Through creative problem-solving and engaged collaboration, the Texas Hunger Initiative's Waco Regional Office exists to empower Waco area residents to gain equal access to healthy food.

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Contact Our Staff

Shamethia Webb

Regional Director, CPRI Specialist

Kelsey Miller

Child Hunger Outreach Specialist

Christina Fajardo


Elizabeth Wagner

Texas Impact AmeriCorps VISTA

Table of Contents

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Food Planning Task Force of McLennan County
Community Partner Recruitment Initiative
Child Hunger Outreach
Community Outreach

Food Planning Task Force of McLennan County
(Food Planning Association)

Over the past three years, the Food Planning Task Force of McLennan County, a coalition of organizations, churches, businesses and community members met, together for the purpose of creating a strategic plan for ending hunger in McLennan County. Together, we mobilized six work groups that each collected data, developed best practices and created particular strategies to address hunger issues in greater Waco. The compilation of the data from each work group has resulted in our final product: the strategic plan. Our hope is that this strategic plan will serve as a resource for the City of Waco, nonprofit organizations, churches, foundations and anti-hunger advocates. Several of these strategies are already being implemented locally but could always use more support and creativity! The Texas Hunger Initiative – Waco Regional Office, as well as the McLennan County Hunger Coalition, are currently working toward connecting people to these projects and would love your partnership. If you want to stay connected to anti-hunger initiatives and/or are interested in volunteer opportunities, the THI - Waco Regional Office would be happy to get you plugged in to your area of interest. Email us at THIwaco@gmail.com .

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Community Partner Recruitment Initiative (CPRI)

CPRI is an initiative of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) that assists community-based organizations in helping people apply for and manage their public benefits online via the HHSC web portal: www.YourTexasBenefits.com.

Hundreds of thousands of people across Texas are eligible for SNAP and other public benefits, but are not receiving them. Billions of dollars in available resources go unused.

In the Waco Region alone, millions of dollars in available resources to combat hunger and poverty are squandered because many families are not accessing these benefit programs.

Contact one of Texas Hunger Initiative’s Waco-area CPRI Coordinators to learn how your organization can become a Community Partner to ensure that your clients or congregation members get signed up for the benefit programs they are eligible for:

Aleigh Ascherl
Sonya Thomas

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Child Hunger Outreach

No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. We’re working to end childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. And we need your help to accomplish this in the Waco area!

Here’s how we do it:

School Breakfast

Research demonstrates the importance of providing breakfast to children and youth. Children who eat a good breakfast tend to:

  • perform better in school;
  • have a better attendance record;
  • exhibit fewer behavioral problems;
  • develop healthy eating habits;
  • visit the school nurse less frequently; and
  • are less likely to be obese.

  • Despite the benefits of breakfast, for a variety of reasons, many families can't provide for their kids a healthy breakfast every morning. The Texas Hunger Initiative (THI), Share Our Strength’s lead partner for the Texas No Kid Hungry campaign, works to help schools and school districts implement universal alternative breakfast programs. THI works in partnership with the USDA and Dairy MAX to reach out to superintendents and school nutrition directors in large school districts across the state and discuss the importance of the federal School Breakfast Program and innovative delivery models, such as Breakfast in the Classroom.

    Summer Meals

    For families who count on school breakfast and lunch, the summer months can be stressful and family food budgets have to be stretched even further.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free Summer Meals to kids across the Waco Region similar to School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, except meals are free to all kids that come to a registered Summer Meals site. These Summer Meals Programs can help families save money and stretch their already tight summer food budgets. Many Summer Meals sites, which are registered with the USDA, offer fun learning and recreational activities so kids and teens can eat a healthy meal while staying active and hanging out with friends. Families in all of Central Texas can find free Summer Meals sites by going to www.summerfood.org, calling 211, or texting FOODTX to 877-877.

    What can you do to help ensure kids are fed when school is out for summer? Volunteer!!!
    Help get out the word through a coordinated effort to distribute information about free summer meals in your area, so that no child goes hungry! To help, contact Kelsey Scherer with the Texas Hunger Initiative – Waco Regional Office at (847) 334-7856.

    Afterschool Meals

    Afterschool programs help to keep young people safe, help working families and inspire learning. These programs are also critical in providing many children with healthy, nutritious meals after school. For many of these children, that meal or snack they receive at their afterschool program is the last food they will have until a school breakfast the next morning.

    The federal Afterschool Meals Program funds afterschool meals and snacks year-round. THI is working to expand participation to ensure that all children have access to afterschool meals. If you know of an afterschool program that might be interested in providing federally-funded, free meals as part of their program, learn more by contacting Kelsey Scherer, THI Child Hunger Outreach Specialist. Local government agencies, faith-based groups and private nonprofits are eligible.

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    Community Outreach

    The Waco Regional Office is always interested in engaging community members around issues of hunger and poverty.

    We believe that people are experts in their own experiences, and we appreciate the opportunity to engage with our local experts via dialogue, discussion groups and cross-agency collaboration.

    Contact us if you’d like to be involved in these community conversations.

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