Caritas of Waco Announces Co-Executive Directors

Press release – The Board of Directors for Caritas of Waco is pleased to announce the appointments of Alicia Jallah and Ann Owen as Co-Executive Directors of the nonprofit devoted to providing urgent support to people in need. Jallah and Owen will succeed Buddy Edwards, who is retiring at the end of May after serving the organization as Executive Director since 2008.

“We are grateful for Buddy’s leadership throughout his tenure with Caritas and wish him well as he nears retirement. The Board is excited with the talent and experience Alicia and Ann bring to the position and we look forward to working with them,” said Cindy Wood, President.

Jallah earned her Master of Arts in Youth and Family Ministry from Denver Seminary and her Bachelors Degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She joined the Caritas staff in 2018 as an Assistant Executive Director. Before coming to Caritas, Jallah was Executive Director of the Lamar County Food Pantry in Paris, Texas.  

“I am thrilled to be leading Caritas with Ann and working alongside the hardworking volunteers, staff and board of directors. We are committed in the fight against food insecurity and poverty so that those who are vulnerable among us can hold onto hope. My heartfelt gratitude goes to Buddy for his strength in leadership and legacy of kindness and compassion.”

Owen holds an AAS in Data Processing with a minor in Business from McLennan Community College and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Baylor University. She joined Caritas in April of 2014 as Development Director before becoming an Assistant Executive Director in 2018.

“I am excited and honored for the opportunity to work alongside Alicia in leading Caritas. We are poised to build on the momentum created by Buddy’s leadership. We have an outstanding staff who are dedicated to helping those in need and I look forward to working with each of them, as well as our board of directors and many volunteers, in the fight to eliminate food insecurity and poverty in this great community of ours.”

About Caritas of Waco: The mission of Caritas is to provide urgent support to people in need in our community.  Caritas is supported by the generosity of individual and corporate donations, charitable foundations, faith communities, civic and service organizations, and the United Way of Waco-McLennan County. For more information, call Caritas of Waco at 254-753-4593 or visit our website at www.caritas-waco.org.

Celebrating The Nonprofit Sector-Essential to Community Recovery

By Barbara Mosacchio

This is a proud time to be part of the United Way network, and to be leading United Way of Waco-McLennan County. The United Way system has been designed to consistently support and increase the capacity of nonprofits by ensuring they have the tools and resources needed to generate impact. Across our system at United Way Worldwide (UWW), advocating on behalf of the nonprofit sector has always been part of our DNA, but never more so than in times of crisis like we are experiencing today.

Under the umbrella of UWW, community-based United Ways have played a central role in ensuring nonprofits have equal access to advocacy and philanthropic support. UWW was recently on Capitol Hill with other national nonprofit leaders to promote significant support for our sector via the Cares Act. The culmination of this work has led to the nonprofit sector’s eligibility to access the SBA loan program, in addition to an increase in funding for FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter program. Alongside these efforts happening in Washington, D.C., United Ways across the country continue to secure corporate giving for the relief and recovery of individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. Our global network has successfully raised millions of dollars—some of which have made their way into McLennan County.

The focus of United Ways to support the nonprofit sector stems from two fundamental ideals. The first is the knowledge that on any given day, it is our nonprofit sector who does the heavy lifting and cares for those who are most in need. Nonprofits fight hard to ensure equity and inclusion through programming and supports for our children, families, and individuals.

The second reason is that in times of crisis like this, we see how quickly the nonprofit sector responds to the challenge. Since my arrival in Waco, I have been taken with the generosity of this community and the true collective will of all who support and engage with the important work our nonprofits do every day. Even in the best of circumstances, the work they do is hard and the challenges are great. Our finest nonprofit organizations balance multiple needs and donor expectations to assure their services are responsive and relevant while also bringing heart, soul, compassion, and empathy to their work.  

 As we are seeing this new crisis unfold all around us today, the increase in need was almost instantaneous. Nonprofits are being asked daily to adjust the way in which they deliver service, and on many levels, to whom. And these organizations are delivering this service with dedication and unwavering commitment. What we are coming to understand is that while there is a very significant and specific need for services today, we also know that if our community is going to fully recover, we will need a strong and vibrant nonprofit ecosystem to address emerging and longer-term needs. As unemployment soars, as mental and physical health continue to be tested, as children are out of school paired with a lack of childcare options, and as communities’ grapple with the effects of COVID-19, it is our nonprofits who will be called upon to provide the critical support our communities need.

The challenges we are facing globally are almost beyond comprehension. None of us, I think, could ever fathom how hard and heartbreaking life would get for so many, so quickly. Yet, in each crisis there is often resilience and passion. While we have grieved for lives lost and families experiencing pain, we have also rejoiced and celebrated the truly outstanding heroes in our current story, which includes not only our nonprofit leaders, but also our doctors, nurses, teachers, working parents who are home schooling, and our city and county leaders.

Today, I am asking you to join United Way in celebrating, honoring, thanking, and supporting the nonprofit leaders and staff who are on the front lines doing the heavy lifting to uplift our community and give us all hope.


Barbara Mosacchio has been the CEO of United Way of Waco-McLennan County since 2017.  She brings to this role significant experience in both nonprofit program leadership and philanthropic leadership having led the YWCA in Dallas, the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, and Chicago Youth Centers prior to moving her leadership to Waco, TX.

Resourceful Food and Cooking Tips for You During COVID-19

By Lindsey Breunig-Rodriguez

Due to the continued spread of COVID-19 and the challenges it poses to communities across Texas and around the world, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has suspended all face-to-face events through at least May 20th. We cannot meet face-to-face for programs, but remain committed to providing research-backed information to help individuals navigate the challenges this virus brings. For information on resources, ideas, and programs for yourself and family visit Texas A&M AgriLife’s HUB. Rather than highlighting a specific fruit or vegetable, this month our Better Living for Texans post will focus on ways to save money and reduce grocery store trips.  

Many of us, myself included, are continuing to try and minimize our trips outside the home. Reducing trips to the store is actually a great tactic to save money! Fewer trips reduce our chances of buying products we do not need. How often do we go for one item but walk out with four or five items instead? This can throw off our food budget and increase our chances of opting for items that may not be nutritionally better. To avoid extra trips to the store, start by making a list and create a food budget to help you stick to buying only the items you need.

However, what do we do when we realize we are missing an ingredient? If anyone is like me, sometimes I get the “kitchen freeze” and do not have a back up plan when an ingredient is missing. To help in preventing the “kitchen freeze” below is an ingredient substitution list for when we find ourselves missing an ingredient. Knowing these ingredient substitutions will eliminate the need for extra grocery store trips AND help us save money by eliminating extra purchases.  

A second tip that not only saves money but also time is how you organize your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Maintaining organization in those areas will also make menu planning easier as you can see all the items available to you.  Shop your pantry first before heading to the grocery store! Some tips for organizing these areas are:

  • Place similar items together – This will help in creating substitutions for a recipe. For example: a recipe calls for noodles and you are out, you may have rice that can be substituted in for a similar flavor. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to group items by the major food groups. This goes for in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. (There may be some exceptions because of food safety, if you have questions about a specific item check https://www.foodsafety.gov/) Some other groups are:
    • Cans together (group canned beans, meats, and veggies together)
    • Spices/seasonings & herbs
    • Baking/grains together (flour, rice, lentils, pasta, etc.)
    • Premade items (sauces, soups, salsas, etc.)

  • Use the first in/first out method – If you purchase an item you already had, place it behind the item in your pantry. This helps you use items that are closer to their expiration date, sooner.

We hope you are staying healthy and safe during this historic time. You may have extra time at home, or you may be working extra to keep our community safe and running. No matter who you are, creating recipes that produce leftovers is yet another way to save time and money. Making recipes that are also great leftovers is handy and reduces the time spent in the kitchen too. Therefore, please enjoy some cook once and eat twice recipes!



Lindsey Breunig-Rodriguez is an Extension Agent for the Better Living for Texans program with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She is originally from Grapevine, TX but now calls Waco home. A graduate from Baylor University, she loves to venture out to Cameron Park, visit the local Farmers Market, and try out the awesome eateries in Waco. If you see her and hear a loud bark, that’s her pup Lucy Ann just saying hello.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.