New operating hours for Caritas Food Pantry

Press Release

Caritas of Waco Food Pantry, 300 South 15th St., moved back to a Monday-Friday schedule starting Tuesday, May 26. Caritas will distribute food using a “drive-through” system 8:30-11 a.m. and 1-2 p.m.

Caritas staff, using social distancing methods, will come to each vehicle, will register occupants to receive food and will then place food items in the car trunk or truck bed. Recipients must empty their trunks and/or truck beds prior to coming to Caritas.  

Because the food distribution is outdoors, it may be suspended during periods of rain and/or extreme heat. Individuals are encouraged to call Caritas at 254-753-4593 before coming if the weather conditions appear to make food distribution questionable. 

“Hidden Treasures” Bosque, 3912 Bosque Blvd., (254-753-0125) in Waco will be open for customers 1-6 p.m. Monday- Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m.Saturday. “Hidden Treasures” Bellmead (254-799-0777), 3016 Bellmead Dr., will have operating hours of 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday. Both stores will continue to limit the number of customers in the store at one time. Caritas asks that all customers practice social distancing and wear a face mask. Donations of clothing and household goods will not be accepted, and donation pick-ups will not be scheduled until further notice.

For more information on Caritas of Waco or how you can support its community efforts, please visit www.caritas-waco.org or call 254-753-4593. 

Corona threw college students for a loop. Caring professors made it work.

By Derby Carlson

I walked into the class with a sheepish smile on my face. It was the first day, and I was determined to make a good first impression, not just on my fellow students but also on the teacher. The only person I knew waved me over to an empty chair, and I immediately pulled out a journal to take notes. Do people take notes in English class? And then, the man himself walked in.

He walked in with a stack of quizzes.

My heart rose to my throat and I know I must’ve looked insane, staring at him as he passed out them out. But when he got to me, he paused and asked me what my name was again. I awkwardly laughed. “Derby,” I said, “But this is my first day. I transferred from another class.”

He looked immediately relieved. “I was afraid that I had forgotten you and didn’t want to seem like an asshole professor.”

I knew in that moment that my worries about having to “impress” this professor were not necessary. I just needed to be me and continue to work hard.

Now that I’m writing it, this sounds like the beginning of a high school drama… but this was college.

I had gotten into an English 101 course with a New York Times Bestselling Author. Our class had 14 students ranging from freshmen to seniors, all wanting to say they took a class from him. We met three times a week and I always sat next to one of sorority sisters, Ellie.

We loved the class.

I had a feeling that I would. I love reading and writing, and I wanted this man to be one of my mentors. But Ellie…she was the complete opposite. I asked her once if she ever wanted to take another English course with me, and she frowned, saying, “Derby. This is the only English I’ll ever take.”

But, this wonderful man made everyone care about the English language. I think it was because he cared so much about us.

When COVID-19 caused classes to go online, I was crushed. Not only because all my friends were going to be in different states, but because I was afraid of how online learning would go. I was afraid that this relationship that I had worked so hard to build with my potential mentor suddenly would be for naught. I felt much better when, after all the emails that the school sent, I got one from my English 101 professor.

In the email, he said that he was very saddened that our semester together had been cut short. He said that if we needed anything to just email him, and he would try to help us.

He was as good as his word. A few days later, I started the process to apply to be a counselor at my college’s Young Writer’s camp. The application asked for a reference, and I realized a reference from my professor would be perfect. So, I shot off an email asking if he would do it. He responded about an hour later. “For sure,” he said. “That’s wonderful!”

Not only did he care, but he also wanted to keep us in light spirits.

Before our first Zoom class started, everyone waited on mute for him to join us. It was extremely awkward. We were all just looking at each other, classmates across the country, but we could say anything. Then, the legend himself logged on. A wheeze escaped from my body when I realized what he was wearing.

“Hello guys,” he said, cheerfully. A dark black and white bandana covered his nose and mouth. He looked like a cartoon robber about to rob a bank. He reached up and pulled down the make-shift mask. He smiled a sheepishly at the camera. “My son asked me to wear a mask for y’all every day to keep y’all in good spirits. I thought it was a great idea.” I immediately got a text from Ellie: I love this man.

Even though we didn’t have our classes in person anymore, there was a silver lining.  As we prepared to write essays about the books we read in class, we got to have one-on-one conversations with him to discuss what we were going to write.   Before going on-line, it would’ve been very hard to get this personal time with him. Normally, he would have been gone every few weeks to New York City, or to a conference to give a talk. With everyone staying home, we had more time for conversation.

So, despite not having class in person, I know my education did not falter. I would like to thank the New York Times Best Selling Author who made sure that was the case.


Derby Carlson just finished her freshman year at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She is also a 2019 Waco High graduate.

Congratulations to our next Waco City Manager: Bradley Ford

Press Release

Following the announcement on Tuesday, May 19th by City Manager Wiley Stem III of his planned retirement after 44 years of service to the City later this summer, the Waco City Council held a special meeting Saturday, May 23rd at 9am to consider the selection of the next City Manager and interview current Deputy City Manager Bradley Ford. 

Following the lengthy Executive Session, the City Council voted unanimously on the posted resolution to hire Ford as Waco’s next City Manager.

Mayor Kyle Deaver said, “Bradley has overwhelmed the Council with his ability to deal with the many complex issues presented to the city while fostering positive relationships with community partners.  He has proven his passion for the city and his ability to deal with difficult issues and carrying out the Council’s goals and objectives.  We have been fortunate to have outstanding City Managers in the past and I’m confident Bradley will continue that legacy.”

Soon to retire City Manager Wiley Stem said, “Not long after Bradley came to the city as an Assistant City Manager it was immediately clear that he had the ability to be a strong leader for Waco.  When I appointed him Deputy City Manager I knew in my heart that if the Council agreed, he would be able to continue the work of the Council and keep the city moving in the right direction.  I’m excited for him and the future of Waco.”

Ford received his Bachelor of Political Science from the University of Texas at Tyler in 2003 and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2007. He came to the City of Waco in 2017  having  worked for the cities of Ft. Worth and Burleson in the areas of Planning, Economic and Community Development and serving as Deputy City Manager in Burleson.  Bradley spends his free time at home with his wife 20 years, Deanna, and their three children.

Ford said, “I have worked with many leaders in my career that have invested time and energy into my development. The most recent example of that is Wiley Stem.  It will be a true honor to follow Wiley in leading our City family.”

For additional biographical information on Bradley Ford visit www.waco-texas.com/Ford.asp

Make It Through Corona Fund launched

(From the COVID-19 Community Newsletter)

Creative Waco launched the Make It Through Corona (MITC) Fund to assist local artists, performers and arts-based businesses who have lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The fund provides aid to artists, performers and arts-based businesses in Waco and McLennan County by providing mini grants (up to $500) and other valuable practical support. The program supports developing new skills, creating new artwork, purchasing equipment or using the time to adapt practices and programs to “make it through” the current changes for the benefit of our whole community.
 
Make It Through Corona was created in conjunction with the Make It In Wacoonline marketplace in effort to support those in our artistic and cultural sector impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The platform hosts over 90 local vendors and almost 600 family-friendly, handmade or original products, services or experiences. 
 
Fifteen percent of each purchase is donated to support the MITC Fund. Over $500 has been donated into the fund since the website launched in April. The MITC Fund launched May 9 and received over $10,000 worth of donations from the community to date. Creative Waco hopes to reach their goal of $25,000 by June 1.
 
Applications for grants are accepted on a rolling basis, evaluated by a diverse panel of community members, and decisions are made within 14 days of receiving an application. To find more information about the fund and to apply visit creativewaco.org/mitc-fund. To donate visit creativewaco.org/support or shop MakeItInWaco.com.Creative Waco launched the Make It Through Corona (MITC) Fund to assist local artists, performers and arts-based businesses who have lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The fund provides aid to artists, performers and arts-based businesses in Waco and McLennan County by providing mini grants (up to $500) and other valuable practical support. The program supports developing new skills, creating new artwork, purchasing equipment or using the time to adapt practices and programs to “make it through” the current changes for the benefit of our whole community.
 
Make It Through Corona was created in conjunction with the Make It In Wacoonline marketplace in effort to support those in our artistic and cultural sector impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The platform hosts over 90 local vendors and almost 600 family-friendly, handmade or original products, services or experiences. 
 
Fifteen percent of each purchase is donated to support the MITC Fund. Over $500 has been donated into the fund since the website launched in April. The MITC Fund launched May 9 and received over $10,000 worth of donations from the community to date. Creative Waco hopes to reach their goal of $25,000 by June 1.
 
Applications for grants are accepted on a rolling basis, evaluated by a diverse panel of community members, and decisions are made within 14 days of receiving an application. To find more information about the fund and to apply visit creativewaco.org/mitc-fund. To donate visit creativewaco.org/support or shop MakeItInWaco.com.