The Giving Guide 2016

By Megan Willome

In our August issue we interviewed Ashley Thornton, creator of Act Locally Waco, and discussed the idea of unconventional volunteering. That means if you have ever thought, “I can’t volunteer. That’s not me,” then you might enjoy helping a nonprofit in a nontraditional way. With the publication of our third annual Giving Guide, featuring 71 nonprofits from a wide variety of causes in Waco, we thought it might be time to re-examine what it means to volunteer. Hint: You don’t even have to be a people person.

“Whatever there is that you like to do, there’s probably somebody that needs it done,” Thornton said. “I’m not especially good with kids. But I like to do things other people don’t like to do, like write and gather up bits of information.”

So there are two questions to ask yourself as you read this guide: What do I enjoy doing? And is there a nonprofit who could benefit from my expertise?

Thornton suggests the example of an accountant.

“I guarantee there’s a nonprofit out there that needs an accountant to teach their board to read an audit,” she said.

Or an attorney.

“We have such a huge need for lawyers who are willing to help people untangle themselves,” Thornton added.

If you enjoy delivering a hot meal or mentoring a woman trying to get back on her feet, then keep on keeping on at a nonprofit that offers those opportunities. But if your personality veers toward less public activities, then contact your favorite organization and say something like this, as Thornton suggests: “Take me off tutoring kids and put me on the spreadsheet.”

There is a nonprofit in Waco who will thank you. It will be the best gift you give all year.

Act Locally Waco
Lots to do in Wacotown!
1516 Austin Avenue, 741-0081,
Are you wondering what’s going on in Waco this weekend? What about next month, when the grandkids visit? Act Locally Waco is your source for information about all things Waco. Its weekly newsletter, the “Whole Enchilada,” keeps you informed about when, where and how you can get involved. The website also includes a blog, event calendars and a Get Help page listing local resources. Every financial contribution helps, and all donations are tax deductible. Five dollars helps pay for copies to promote the site, $10 pays to boost a post on Facebook, and $30 dollars pays for one month of distributing the “Whole Enchilada” via email. If you enjoy writing, Act Locally Waco could use help writing the blurbs and the occasional blog post. Please contact Ashley Thornton at if you are interested in learning more. Act Locally Waco is affiliated with Prosper Waco.

Cameron Park Zoo
Escape your natural habitat & introduce yourself to ours
1701 North Fourth Street, 750-8400,
Cameron Park Zoo is Waco’s 52-acre natural habitat zoo, which is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo provides enrichment for all its animals on a daily basis, enhancing their environment and offering mental and physical stimulation. Through educational programs that promote conservation awareness and in participation with other accredited zoos, Cameron Park Zoo serves as a survival center for native and exotic species. Last year’s attendance boasted the highest numbers ever, with 289,610 guests, 60 percent of whom came from more than 50 miles away. Those guests contributed more than $14 million to the Waco economy, making Cameron Park Zoo a primary tourist destination. The zoo has several special events throughout the year to raise awareness and funds, including Brew at the Zoo, Grapes with the Apes, The Mating Game and KidZoobilee. Individuals and corporations can support any of the zoo’s programs by becoming a Community Partner, joining the Director’s Circle or donating directly to a particular program or event online at

Central Texas Audubon Society
Christmas bird count
Meets at Carleen Bright Arboretum, 744-7630,
Each December the Central Texas Audubon Society participates in the Christmas Bird Count, and the society needs your help. The count has been ongoing for more than 100 years and is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world. Tens of thousands of participants also know that it’s a lot of fun. Citizen birdwatchers from all walks of life and all levels of knowledge about birds take part, providing critical data on bird population trends. The Crawford, or western, count will be held on Saturday, December 17, and the Waco, or eastern, count will take place on Saturday, December 31. If you are interested in participating in the Central Texas Audubon Society, meetings are generally held at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Carleen Bright Arboretum, located at 9001 Bosque Boulevard.

Creative Waco
More arts now
101 South Third Street, 214-7640,
Creative Waco’s mission is to grow and support the artistic and cultural life of the community. As Waco’s local arts agency, it led the process by which a section of Downtown Waco was unanimously voted Texas’s newest cultural district by the Texas Commission on the Arts. Waco’s application ranked highest in the state. The process took a year, but the designation is a prize the downtown area had set its sights on for more than a decade. Now Creative Waco is developing resources that will grow Waco as a thriving, vibrant and sustainable cultural hub. Support for Creative Waco will be invested in an upcoming program that will invest in high impact, innovative arts projects in the community.

Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute
Home of Dr Pepper
300 South Fifth Street, 757-1025,
The Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute is the home of the nation’s oldest major soft drink, Dr Pepper. Invented in 1885 at the Old Corner Drug Store in Downtown Waco, Dr Pepper is one of the most popular soft drinks in the world. The museum is an independent, nonprofit organization and is not owned or operated by Dr Pepper Snapple Group. A board of directors carries out the museum’s mission and vision alongside a professional staff and generous supporters and donors. Over 1.5 million people from around the world have visited the museum since it opened in 1991, including 25,000 students who have participated in free enterprise educational programming. This year the Dr Pepper Museum celebrated its 25th anniversary with the opening of the Emerson Holt – Ted Getterman exhibit gallery, a new gift shop and new soda fountain spaces. A Dr Pepper Christmas will be held Friday, December 2, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets and sponsorships are available online.

Better than a sweater
2100 River Street, 710-1033,
KWBU is the local National Public Radio affiliate and the only source for classical music in Waco. The station began 16 years ago and is the sole provider of programming for NPR in this part of Central Texas. Donations from individuals are the most important source of funding for the station, and your gift to public radio will be better than any sweater. Even if it’s not a pledge drive, you can still become a member by going online and clicking on the Become a Member tab under Ways to Support. If you have a car that’s seen better days, don’t trade it in — donate it! Vehicles are sold at auction, and proceeds benefit the station’s programs. Becoming a member of your public radio station is easy, and members receive a card with discounts at local merchants and participating online retailers.

Palace Theatre
Way, way off Broadway in Marlin, Texas
133 Heritage Row, Marlin,
The Palace Theatre is a nonprofit community theater in nearby Marlin. Built in 1925, the theater once hosted vaudeville acts and silent films during Marlin’s mineral water boom. Under the care of the Marlin Palace Theater Center Inc., the theater produces two upscale dinner theaters annually in the recently renovated main theater room. The Palace Theatre is also home to the Falls County Bluegrass Festival each summer. Currently, the theater is in need of donations to upgrade the electrical system, replace carpet and renovate the kitchen. To join the mailing list, go to the website and fill out the contact form. Check out the theater’s website or like its Facebook page to learn more about upcoming events.

Keep Waco Beautiful
“I make Waco beautiful!”
300 Austin Avenue, 750-5728,
If you want to say, “I make Waco beautiful!” then Keep Waco Beautiful is the organization for you. One way to support Keep Waco Beautiful after the holidays is to bring your live Christmas tree to the free Chipping of the Green recycling event. Bring your tree to the parking lot at Paul Tyson Field January 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and make sure it’s free from ornaments and decorations before it’s ground into mulch. All participants receive a bag of fragrant tree mulch as a thank-you gift. During the holidays Keep Waco Beautiful encourages residents to trim their holiday wastelines by recycling wrapping paper (no foil or plastic coating), gift boxes and holiday cards. E-waste, such as old computers, cellphones and tablets, can be brought to the Cobbs Recycling Center by Waco residents at no charge. Throughout the year look for Keep Waco Beautiful’s annual events, including Adopt-A-Street/Park, the quarterly Brazos River Cleanup and Backyard Day, which features DIY composting and rainwater harvesting classes. There are also opportunities to volunteer at upcoming beautification projects. Your membership keeps Waco beautiful year-round, and you can honor a loved one with a financial gift.

Friends of the Waco-McLennan County Library
Finding new homes for old books since 1962
1717 Austin Avenue, 750-5941,
Friends of the Waco-McLennan County Library supports the four branches of the library by funding a wide array of programs, supplementing the book collection budget and purchasing computers and other technology needed by the Central, East, South and West Waco library branches. The summer reading program, teen computer lab and genealogy workshops continue to be popular and well-attended, and the Friends of the Library is proud to support all of them. The primary fundraiser for all these programs is the annual Friends of the Library Book Sale, held for four days each November. Over 100,000 titles are available for purchase, some for as little as $1. Children’s books, new fiction and rare and out-of-print selections are among the most sought-after items. Book donations and monetary gifts are accepted year-round. Individuals and families can become a member of Friends of the Library for just $25. There are also volunteer opportunities all year for people who love books.

Historic Waco Foundation
Preserve. Educate. Inspire.
810 South Fourth Street, 753-5166,
In addition to showcasing its four historic homes, Historic Waco Foundation offers educational programs, including Traveling Trunks, Skadoos and field trips. Traveling Trunks bring history into the classroom and provides educators with lesson plans, activities and historical objects that adhere to TEKS standards. Skadoos are fun, educational, come-and-go themed events for the whole family featuring tours, games, crafts and snacks — all at an affordable price. Field trips help students explore Waco’s past and present through a tour of one of the historic houses along with hands-on activities. The theme for this year’s Christmas on the Brazos, held December 3-11, is “A Victorian Christmas: Southern Style.” Fort House, located at 503 South Fourth Street, is this year’s showcase home. Fort House will be open for tours Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 1-4 p.m. On December 3 the Candlelight Dinner, held at 6 p.m. at Fort House, will provide the perfect hint of holiday magic. Don’t miss Breakfast with Santa on December 10 from 9 a.m. to noon, also at Fort House. For only $10, a family can take part in a tour, decorate cookies, make holiday crafts, enjoy holiday-inspired refreshments and take a picture with Santa.

Martin Museum of Art
World-class artistic experiences
60 Baylor Avenue, 710-1867,
The Martin Museum of Art in the Hooper-Shaefer Fine Arts Center at Baylor offers Waco and Central Texas a world-class artistic experience. The Permanent Collection holds over 1,300 items, including work by artists such as Rembrandt, John James Audubon, Ansel Adams and Kermit Oliver. The museum hosts traveling and temporary exhibitions, offering visitors a new and diverse experience with every visit. The Martin Museum of Art is closed during the holiday break and will reopen January 21 with the sculpture exhibition “Confluence of Earth & Mind” with works by Sherry Owens and Sharon Kopriva. The Martin Museum also offers workshops, including Print-a-Valentine February 9, 2017. This hands-on workshop offers participants experience with linoleum block printing. Admission to exhibitions, programs and events at the Martin Museum are free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of the Virginia Webb Endowment, the Ted and Sue Getterman Endowment and the Art Angel Endowment. The Art Angels are an advocacy group that has provided support for the museum for more than 10 years. For information about gifts of artwork, personalized giving in the form of an honorarium or memorial, corporate sponsorship and underwriting opportunities, contact
the museum.

Mayborn Museum Complex
Engage. Explore. Enjoy.
1300 South University Parks Drive, 710-1110,
The Mayborn Museum Complex brings together in one location hands-on discovery rooms, interactive natural science and history galleries and outdoor exhibits. This rich combination provides a wide spectrum of engaging learning opportunities for all types of learners. The exhibits and education programs encourage families to learn together as they design their own museum experience. The museum also serves as a learning laboratory for students in Baylor’s department of museum studies. Financial support is critical for the Mayborn Museum to accomplish its mission to engage the community and inspire lifelong learning. Individuals and corporations can support the museum by sponsoring a Free Sunday at the Mayborn or by donating directly to its outreach programs, which provide informal science education at Waco recreation centers. During the winter break, through December 31, bring the kids and grandkids to see the National Geographic “Sacred Journeys” exhibit in the Tom and Emilyne Anding Traveling
Exhibit Gallery.

Providence Foundation
Invest in your own health
6901 Medical Parkway, 751-4762,
Invest in your health and the health of the community by making a gift in support of Providence Healthcare Network. All gifts made to the Providence Foundation help make exceptional health care available for your family, friends and neighbors. Donor support ensures the most advanced equipment and technologies are in place to provide the highest possible level of patient care. While unrestricted donations give the foundation flexibility to direct resources to areas of maximum impact, Providence Foundation also seeks support for specific causes, such as breast health (the Pink Partner Fund), cardiology, the Women & Newborns Center and other areas of need. In addition, the foundation raises funds each year through the annual Providence Classic Golf Tournament and the Champagne Luncheon & Style Show.

Scott & White Healthcare Foundation at Hillcrest
Helping patients live better lives
100 Hillcrest Medical Boulevard, 202-9553,
Scott & White Healthcare Foundation at Hillcrest works locally to meet a wide variety of critical needs in health care so that medical providers can best serve others in a Christian ministry of healing. The foundation works with donors to match those areas in which they are most passionate with the programs, services and equipment needed. The foundation’s largest annual event held in Waco is the Charity Dove Hunt & Concert. This unique weekend event benefits Baylor Scott & White McClinton Cancer Center. Proceeds further the expansion of programs and services in an ongoing quest to serve more cancer patients close to home. In addition to financial support, a loyal corps of hospital volunteers donates more than 22,000 hours of service to patients, their families and the medical center. If you are interested in volunteering at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest, please call 202-9591.

Waco Civic Theatre
Be starstruck!
1517 Lake Air Drive, 776-1591,
Community theater means year-round performances — comedies, dramas and musicals — that leave you starstruck. Even if you’re not a performer, the Waco Civic Theatre needs behind-the-scenes help to make every show possible, including folks who can paint, saw, hammer, sew, sell tickets and usher. In December you can support Waco Civic Theatre by attending its three productions. On December 2-11, don’t miss “Million Dollar Quartet.” The play is set on December 4, 1956, when an extraordinary twist of fate brought together Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. The production features hit songs from all four legendary performers. Then watch the Herdmans take over the community Christmas pageant in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” December 13 and 14. Waco Civic Theatre will also perform a Broadway-based Christmas revue December 20 and 21 titled “The Most Wonderful Show of the Year.” Visit the website for details about showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Waco Mammoth Foundation
Meet a mammoth that isn’t woolly
P.O. Box 326, 76703, 750-7946,
In 2015, the Waco Mammoth National Monument became the newest member of the National Park Service. Located at 6220 Steinbeck Bend Drive, the monument is the site of the nation’s only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths. Waco Mammoth Foundation is a nonprofit collaboration between the City of Waco, Baylor University and the Waco community that raises funds to develop and maintain the museum, preserve and protect the fossils and enhance programming at the national monument. The next project is to add the Children’s Discovery Area. Grants from the Cooper Foundation and Waco Foundation have already provided funds for a planning study. The plans have been drawn up, and over a quarter million dollars has already been raised. The national monument is now open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Waco Mammoth National Monument hosts two fun events for families each year: Mammoths on the March, which takes place in March; and the Fall Fossil Festival, presented in October.

Waco Cultural Arts Fest
Enriching the Waco community through the arts
801 Washington Avenue, Suite 405, 723-6830,
For 13 years Doreen Ravenscroft, the founder and executive director of Waco Cultural Arts Fest, has enriched the Waco community through the arts. Over time the mission of the festival has broadened to include six areas, including ArtsFest, MusicFest, WordFest, {254}Dance-Fest, ScienceFest and FilmFest-Celebration Africa. This year’s event was held at Indian Spring Park September 30-October 2, and next year’s will be around the same time. Cultural Arts of Waco, the organization behind Waco Cultural Arts Fest, also participates in the annual Art on Elm festival, which will be held April 7-8, 2017. In addition, Cultural Arts of Waco is behind public artwork throughout the city, including “Branding the Brazos,” the life-size sculptures of a cattle drive along the Chisholm Trail, and the forthcoming Doris Miller Memorial. The newest initiative will be a community arts hub in East Waco called ArtPlace. Help keep the festivals free by making a donation of any amount at

Waco Symphony Orchestra
Celebrating the 55th season
600 Austin Avenue, Suite 10, 754-0851,
From classical masterpieces to classic rock and from ballet to Broadway, the Waco Symphony Orchestra has provided the most rewarding live music experience to Central Texas for more than half a century. Watching the greatest guest artists of our time, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Henry Mancini and Burt Bacharach, symphony-goers are guaranteed an evening to remember. Led by music director Stephen Heyde, the orchestra’s professional musicians are dedicated to performing at the highest level. The support staff is headed by Susan Taylor, executive director of the Waco Symphony Association. As a nonprofit, the Waco Symphony Association relies on the generous support of the community so all may enjoy the beauty of live music. Don’t miss “The Nutcracker” with Mejia Ballet International and the Waco Symphony Orchestra, held December 11 at 2 p.m. in Waco Hall. Visit the website for a complete list of this season’s concerts
and to purchase tickets.

Brazos Education Foundation
Helping stars to shine
111 South 18th Street, 732-1946,
Some Central Texas students are academic stars, and all they need is a little help finding their place to shine. Brazos Education Foundation provides renewable scholarships, mentors, textbooks, emergency funds and training sessions for qualifying scholars. The majority of these students are the first in their families to attend college. Brazos Education Foundation pairs each star student with a mentor who walks them through the application process and the transition to college. Brazos Education Foundation needs mentors and volunteers who can review applications and conduct interviews. “It hasn’t been uncommon when volunteers meet a student in person that they want to be their mentor,” said Missy Larson, executive director. Brazos Higher Education Service Corp. underwrites all expenses for Brazos Education Foundation, so every dollar donated funds scholarships. Contributions can be mailed to 2600 Washington Avenue, 76710, or can be given through the website. The foundation’s annual golf tournament, Education 4 Everyone, is held in October and combines serious golf with serious fun.

Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas
Empowering students to stay in school and achieve in life
1001 Washington Avenue, 753-6002,
Since 1989, Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas has served as a link between the Waco community and its schools, connecting local children with adults who care about them through mentoring, tutoring and other supportive programming. Communities In Schools’ staff collaborates with school personnel on 24 campuses across eight local school districts, ensuring that all children receive the necessary help and supplies to keep them in school, including emotional and academic support as well as healthy food and wellness assistance. Communities In Schools is seeking mentors and tutors who can volunteer for one hour per week to provide encouragement and homework help to children on campus. Donations of school supplies and uniforms are accepted year-round at the office on Washington Avenue, or you can make a donation through the website. Follow Communities In Schools on social media to stay updated on fundraising events throughout the year and to see your contributions improve the lives of children in the heart of Texas.

Waco ISD Education Foundation
Raising the power of education
P.O. Box 2369, 76703, 755-9517,
The Waco ISD Education Foundation encourages excellence in public education with an emphasis on student performance. It focuses on early childhood development, enhanced programming for advanced students and extended education for staff. The foundation raises money through fundraising drives and campaigns involving alumni, local businesses, parents, teachers and the Waco community. Each year the Waco ISD Education Foundation awards approximately $100,000 in grants to educators for innovative and creative projects, and volunteers are needed to review those grant applications, which are awarded in the spring. The foundation’s 11th annual H-E-B Celebrity Cook-Off will be held February 24, 2017.

McLennan Community College Foundation
Supporting student scholarships in higher education
1400 College Drive, 299-8606,
The primary goal of McLennan Community College Foundation is to provide student scholarships, and since 1990 it has awarded more than $4.8 million to almost 5,000 students. Even with $16 million under management, the foundation is still only able to award scholarships to about half of the students who apply. With enrollment increasing, along with tuition and book costs, students need enhanced funding. MCC returns more educated students to the local communities within McLennan County than any other institution of higher learning. With that in mind, supporting student scholarships is a win-win for the entire county. Students graduating from MCC become part of the tax base and employment pool, and they are more likely to become engaged in the community. Few individuals, families and employers in McLennan County have not been touched in some way by MCC. Consider participating in the annual fall MCC Foundation Golf Classic (held the first Friday in October) and the spring theater gala, scheduled for February 23, 2017. The MCC Foundation staff is happy to assist any donor in his or her lifetime giving, income tax charitable deductions and estate planning. The foundation offices are located in the McLennan House next to The Highlands Gym at 1728 Powell Drive.

Midway ISD Education Foundation
Moving education forward
13885 Woodway Drive, 761-5614,
Since 2002, the Midway ISD Education Foundation has been assisting teachers who want to raise the bar and give their students an experience above and beyond the traditional classroom. Through the community’s support, the foundation has returned more than $1.45 million directly to the classroom through the Grants for Great Ideas program, which funds creative and innovative learning programs not typically covered in the normal school budget. The foundation has funds for projects of different sizes, including grants for first-year teachers, grants that help cover the cost of summer workshops and the Jeannie Holdbrook Moss Teacher Scholarship, which assists Midway ISD staff members who are pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. Donations can be mailed or received online. The Showcase of Stars Academic Banquet, held in May, is a ticketed event and a recognition of students and teachers who make Midway ISD a great place to learn.

Susan G. Komen East Central Texas
For family. For life.
P.O. Box 6217, Tyler, 75711, 903/561-6992,
Can you imagine a world without breast cancer? Susan G. Komen has announced a bold goal to cut breast cancer mortality by 50 percent over the next decade. Texas research centers will receive more than $3.6 million in grants from Komen to find solutions to this disease. Since 2000 the local Central Texas affiliate has given $2.8 million to community programs and donated more than $800,000 to research. In order to make a bigger impact in the fight against breast cancer, the Central Texas Komen chapter merged with the chapter in Tyler to form Susan G. Komen East Central Texas, which serves 17 counties. With so many people affected by breast cancer, Susan G. Komen is encouraging passionate people to engage in DIY fundraisers for the cure — be it a lemonade stand or a luncheon. Do it yourself, then donate! Locally, Susan G. Komen is looking for volunteers, sponsors and partners. Annual events, like Race for the Cure, fund lifesaving breast health services and cutting-edge research.

American Red Cross, Heart of Texas Chapter
Your help saves lives
9205 Oak Creek, Woodway, 523-4985,
The Heart of Texas chapter of the American Red Cross, serving 17 Central Texas counties, is about more than donating blood — it’s about saving lives. The dedicated Red Cross team helps people throughout the community be prepared for natural disasters. In addition, it provides assistance to cover immediate needs, such as shelter, food and clothing along with mental health support. The Red Cross steps in whenever disaster strikes, whether a fire, flood or tornado. The Heart of Texas chapter also equips volunteers in disaster assessment and response. Each year hundreds of local participants attend Red Cross classes in first aid, babysitting, caregiving and lifeguard certification. The Red Cross also serves military personnel and their families. And it holds blood drives, which are one of the most critical ways the Red Cross saves lives.

Community Cancer Association
Providing help to families affected by cancer in McLennan County since 1959
2911 Herring Avenue, Suite 212, 202-8082,
Community Cancer Association has provided assistance to cancer patients in Central Texas for more than 50 years. CCA’s mission statement reads as follows: “Cancer affects everyone, either medically, emotionally or financially. Community Cancer Association exists to help with the financial burden so that local cancer patients and their families can focus on the medical and emotional aspects of this disease.” Some of the financial issues that arise can include expensive outpatient cancer drugs, medicine to counter side effects, pain control and symptom management, prescription co-pays, necessary medical travel, wound care, ostomy and mastectomy supplies, garments, wigs, nutritional supplements and more. CCA is a United Way agency and takes no government funding. All donations stay in Central Texas. Find out more
by logging onto

Family Health Center
Together we make Waco a healthier place to live for all citizens
1600 Providence Drive, 313-4200,
Founded in 1969, the Family Health Center strives to improve the lives of people in McLennan County by improving access to excellent primary and preventive health care services for vulnerable and underserved residents. Through its family medicine residency program FHC educates new family physicians and other health care professionals and addresses the shortage of doctors and lack of primary care access for economically disadvantaged Central Texans. The residency program also has spots for two primary care sports medicine fellowships. Currently, FHC is asking for monetary donations to upgrade its imaging services. With new regulations, FHC is required to upgrade from computerized radiography to low-dose digital radiography. The transition will be expensive but will provide superior imaging with smaller doses of radiation. The total cost of upgrading is $220,000, or $55,000 per imaging facility in the FHC network. With this upgrade, the health center also plans to add CT scanning capabilities. The 18th annual fundraising event, The Gala, will be held April 6, 2017, at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum, featuring Frank Abagnale Jr, whose story was told in the movie “Catch Me If You Can.”

Unlocking America’s potential
3005 Edna Avenue, 235-0834,
The word “avance” means to advance, to move forward and to make progress. Avance has been unlocking America’s potential through an intensive two-generational approach that prepares parents and children for an educational journey. Avance believes education begins in the home and that parents are their child’s first teacher. Avance serves between 150-180 families a year in collaboration with Waco ISD and McLennan Community College. Programs offered include parent education and ESL and GED classes. Join Avance in helping families advance by sponsoring a family. Gifts of any amount are appreciated. Gift cards to CVS, H-E-B, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart (to name a few) are especially needed to help set up the foundation for future success.

Caritas of Waco
Beyond hunger to hope
300 South 15th Street, 753-4593,
Established in 1967, Caritas of Waco has one of the largest food pantries in the community and assists an average of 2,500 families per month. Caritas also offers a case management program, which helps clients address obstacles that prevent them from becoming self-sufficient. Tiffanie was one of those clients. The single mother of two saw herself repeating the cycle of poverty in which she grew up, and she wanted a different life for her daughters. Tiffanie enrolled in the case management program, obtained her cosmetology license and is now employed at a local salon. She plans to return to school to become an instructor. Tiffanie is just one of the many lives moving beyond hunger to hope through the work of Caritas. Monetary gifts pay for the numerous services offered to clients like Tiffanie. In addition, gently used clothing and household items donated to one of the Hidden Treasures thrift stores — located at 3016 Bellmead Drive and 3912 Bosque Boulevard — help support Caritas’s operations. Donations can be dropped off at either location Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers are always needed in the Caritas pantry, warehouse and thrift stores. During the holidays, donations of nonperishable food items are critical, and many clients need personal hygiene items. Caritas also requests $10 or $25 gift cards that can be given to families who are in emergency situations.

Restoration Gateway, Uganda
Bringing hope & healing to Uganda
4300 West Waco Drive, Suite B2-314, 752-0583,
In 2005, Dr. Tim and Janice McCall stepped out in faith and followed God’s call to begin Restoration Gateway in northern Uganda. In a place where previous dictators, rebel groups, civil war and the AIDS crisis had decimated the country, God maintained a remnant of people for the hope of future generations. The time for rebuilding has come to Uganda. Restoration Gateway maintains 700 acres that include a school, an orphanage, a dental facility and the premier hospital in the area. The McCalls’ vision to restore peace and heal wounds among vulnerable children and war-torn people has been established but not yet completed. Restoration Gateway needs people who can sponsor a child. A full sponsorship of $75 per month provides for an orphan’s material, social, medical, emotional and spiritual needs. Other financial needs include funding professionals for a year at a time: one doctor costs $12,108; one nurse costs $4,164; and one teacher costs $2,030. Churches, schools, classes or co-workers can come together to sponsor. These numbers are neither astronomical nor unattainable as faithful givers participate in the healing taking place at Restoration Gateway.

Waco Habitat for Humanity
A decent place to live
220 North 11th Street, 756-7575,
Habitat for Humanity works to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Seeking to put God’s love into action, Waco Habitat brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1986, Waco Habitat has come alongside more than 581 families to ensure they have a simple, decent, affordable home. In partnership with people needing a hand up, Waco Habitat has built and sold 167 new homes and repaired another 414. Thirty-two families have paid off a home in full. Each new homeowner family invests at least 300 hours of sweat equity and receives education and case management. Every gift to Waco Habitat matters. Financial gifts help make the dream of a new home or home repair project come true for approximately 40 families each year. More than 80 percent of Waco Habitat’s efforts are accomplished through volunteer labor. If you can swing a hammer, you can help! Volunteers are needed on construction crews as well as at the ReStore.

World Hunger Relief Inc.
Alleviating hunger
356 Spring Lake Road, 799-5611,
For 40 years, World Hunger Relief Inc. has been training interns for sustainable agriculture and community engagement. It advocates on behalf of the poor and partners with like-minded organizations to address hunger-related issues facing local and global communities. The 40-acre farm raises produce and livestock and serves as a learning laboratory for thousands of individuals, schools, organizations and faith communities. Each year its educational tours and programs increase hunger awareness and address issues of food insecurity. WHRI requests funding for scholarships that could be used to support interns, summer farm campers and tours for underserved schools. It also needs farm production support — including a bed shaper, chop saw and upright and deep chest freezers — a used or new Gator ATV (or golf cart) and a used three-quarter-ton farm truck. If you would like to give a gift that honors an individual, consider donating a flock of chicks, paying for a pig or giving a goat.

The Salvation Army Waco
Doing the most good
4721 West Waco Drive, 756-7271,
The Salvation Army has been “doing the most good” in Waco for 125 years. When the holidays come, the Salvation Army goes on the march — complete with bell ringers for the Red Kettle Campaign. You don’t have to be part of the Salvation Army to ring a bell. You can even start an online Red Kettle and help the Salvation Army by raising donations through email and social networking. All funds raised support emergency and long-term programming that combats hunger, homelessness and basic poverty. The Salvation Army feeds people a hot, multicourse meal 365 days a year, and during the winter months it requests donations of scarves, gloves, coats and hats to provide indigent people with needed protection from frigid conditions. On Christmas Day the Salvation Army serves a holiday banquet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations of turkeys and hams are needed before that event. If you bring a financial donation to the office, include a note specifying how you would like it to be used or call the office for further instructions.

The Shepherd’s Heart
Feeding families. Changing lives.
1401 North 34th Street, 722-9517,
In an area in which the poverty rate is almost twice the national average, The Shepherd’s Heart works to feed, clothe and empower families in need. Each week it feeds between 600-650 families, and it feeds even more in December. The Shepherd’s Heart also provides Christmas gifts to homeless children, working with liaisons from local school districts who know the children and their families. “There are other toy drives that don’t touch these kids,” said Bob Gager, executive director. The children receive an invitation to a Christmas party and RSVP if they plan to attend. Gifts are provided for the entire family. Monetary donations to the toy drive can be made through PayPal or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 23175, 76702. In addition to its primary food pantry, located at 1401 North 34th Street, The Shepherd’s Heart operates two mobile food pantries and two resale shops (at 3400 Bosque Boulevard and 3332 Franklin Avenue). School counselors often shop for free on behalf of homeless students. The Shepherd’s Heart also delivers groceries to 525 homebound senior citizens.

Heart of Texas Veterans One Stop
Where veterans come first
2010 LaSalle Avenue, 297-7171, 800/273-8255 (hotline),
Veterans One Stop is the first facility of its kind in the nation — a clearinghouse for information for the returning veteran and family. A partnership has been established with local, state and national veterans organizations with the goal of meeting all identified needs under one roof. The center offers a conference room, group meeting areas, a computer lab, a volunteer lounge and recreational facilities, including a state-of-the-art media room. Services are offered free of charge to veterans and their dependents, including access to the Veterans Services office, benefit and claim assistance, employment services, Peer 2 Peer support groups, family support groups, individual counseling, substance abuse screening, financial counseling and other needs that may arise. Veterans One Stop serves McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill and Limestone counties from the Waco office; there is a satellite location in Mexia with plans to add an additional office in Marlin. Veterans One Stop is operated by trained veterans, veteran family members and community volunteers. In September Veterans One Stop was named a Charity Champion by TFNB in McGregor. It was also awarded a Lowe’s Heroes grant, which funded the opening of a fully operational kitchen in November. Additionally, Veterans One Stop hopes to raise $30,000 to build a living memorial, including a garden with vegetable and flower beds.

Meals & Wheels
We deliver!
501 West Waco Drive, 752-0316,
Central Texas Senior Ministry, better known as Meals & Wheels, delivers meals to homebound seniors, but it does a whole lot more. Volunteers prepare and deliver hot, nutritious meals at lunchtime and check on the status of the older adults, sharing concern, hugs and smiles. Meals & Wheels also supplements the pantries of high-risk clients through its Groceries to Go program, which can include items like Ensure Plus. In addition, the Pet Meals Project serves clients who are unable to purchase pet food for their faithful companions. In collaboration with Animal Birth Control Clinic’s Treasured Tails program, these pets receive transportation to the veterinary clinic and discounted services. With more than 850 clients in McLennan, Falls and Hill counties, Meals & Wheels can always use monetary donations. In December it participates in a heater drive along with several local agencies. Portable electric heaters with safety features suitable for older adults are requested. The theme of the heater drive is “Be Sweet. Share the Heat.” Call for an assessment to see if you or a loved one would benefit from Meals & Wheels or if you would like to volunteer.

Lutheran Sunset Ministries
Inspired retirement living
413 Sunset Avenue, Clifton, 254/675-8637,
Lutheran Sunset Ministries, overlooking the Brazos River Valley in Clifton, is the only retirement community in Bosque County that offers a full continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, long-term care, rehabilitation and therapy, memory support, hospice services and companion services. Over its 60 years of service Lutheran Sunset Ministries has increased the number of sponsoring churches, added homes and nursing beds and completed the construction of several new buildings, including a state-of-the-art health care facility. With maintenance-free accommodations, residents enjoy an active, engaged lifestyle. As a nonprofit, all proceeds are invested back into the community, and all denominations are welcome. Lutheran Sunset Ministries specializes in the spiritual, physical, intellectual and social growth of its residents and welcomes volunteers year-round to do everything from helping residents write letters to assisting ladies with nail care. Each year the Sunset Auxiliary Quilt Auction, held in conjunction with Clifton’s FallFest, auctions approximately 100 quilts donated by churches, groups and individuals throughout Texas. And the Pot O’ Gold Thrift Store, located at 305 South Avenue Q, is open every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friends for Life
Hope for the generations
5000 Lakewood Drive, 772-7600,
Friends for Life has served older adults and people with disabilities for over 27 years. By recruiting, training and organizing volunteers, it helps clients live independently as long as possible. In addition, Friends for Life offers guardianship services in 82 Texas counties. Staff members trained in money management protect the vulnerable from exploitation and ensure their bills are paid. In Waco the Adult Day Care Center provides nursing care, meals, transportation, exercise and activities to give caregivers a break or to make it possible for them to work. During the holidays Friends for Life makes sure lonely people know someone cares with Friends for Thanksgiving (which deliver meals Thanksgiving Day) and Gifts for Grannies and Grandpas, Too (a gift drive for seniors in need). If your business, church, school or civic organization would like a donation box for Gifts for Grannies & Grandpas, Too, call Friends for Life. Or you can bring a new, unwrapped gift — small blankets, personal care items, socks, slippers, gowns, robes, books, Bibles, gift cards, stuffed animals or calendars — to the office. There is no cutoff date. Gifts received after Christmas will be used throughout the year as birthday gifts for clients who have no one to remember them on their special day. Wrapping parties will be held December 3 and 10 from 9 a.m. to noon, and volunteers are needed to deliver gifts. The gift is not what is important: What matters most is to remember.

Advocacy Center for Crime Victims & Children
40 years of hope and healing
2323 Columbus Avenue, 752-9330, 888/867-7233 (hotline),
Originally named the Waco Rape Crisis Center, the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims & Children marks its 40th year providing hope and healing to survivors of sexual assault and other violent crimes. The Advocacy Center is one agency with three programs. The Victims Center offers case management, unlimited counseling sessions and a 24/7 hotline staffed by trained volunteers. Its nurse examiners receive special training to perform sexual assault exams at both hospitals, and it also has advocates who accompany survivors during those exams. The Children’s Advocacy Center is a safe place for a child to tell his or her story. It provides forensic interviews and medical examinations for children under 18 and parenting classes for non-offending parents. Staff from the Prevention and Education Program make presentations at area schools and organizations to change attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that may lead to sexual violence. Every Christmas volunteers adopt client families, and the Advocacy Center needs gifts for older children, ages 11-15. Call for a wish list. Another way to support families is to purchase gift cards from Walmart. Parents can use the cards to buy gifts or food for their children. Everything is done by numerical code to ensure confidentiality. Volunteers are always needed to staff the crisis hotline, and the next training session begins in February 2017.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Waco
Join the club
P.O. Box 447, 76703, 752-6443,
It just takes one person to make a difference in the life of a child. Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a national organization with deep roots in Waco — it’s the oldest club in the state of Texas, established May 2, 1909. The club began serving girls long before the national nonprofit officially began admitting them in 1992. Boys & Girls Clubs provide a safe place for kids and teens after school and in the summer where they can learn and grow. There are two branches in Waco. During the school year the club is open weekdays from 2:30-6 p.m. The summer program runs on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Club offers school pickup from several schools, and a full list is available on the Facebook page. In September the Club received the Gateway to Impact Award at the Southwest Leadership Conference for its 25 percent growth in average daily attendance over the past year. A Reverse Raffle, an evening of entertainment featuring live music, food, drinks and both live and silent auctions is held in November.

Care Net of Central Texas
You are not alone
800 West Waco Drive (support services and guesthouse), 772-8270, 1818 Columbus Avenue (medical services), 772-6175,
Care Net of Central Texas has a message for women facing an unexpected pregnancy: You are not alone. When a woman learns she is pregnant, she needs help — not just in the early days but also through the baby’s first year. Since 2004, Care Net has provided counseling, case management, parenting and life skills classes, baby supplies and more. It also provides free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and STD screenings. In May, Care Net opened a center for homeless expectant mothers and homeless new mothers with children. As the weather grows cooler Care Net needs warm baby clothes and jackets for infants ages 0-24 months as well as baby toys that a mother could “purchase” through points earned as a Christmas gift for her child. Infant formula is always needed. This year Care Net is a recipient of Waco Foundation’s Endowment Match Awards, a matching program for endowment funds. For every $10 raised, Waco Foundation will contribute $1, up to a total of $10,000, by December 31. Consider a gift this year when it will make such an impact on Care Net’s future.

CASA of McLennan and Hill Counties
Making a difference — one child at a time
2223 Austin Avenue, Suite D, 304-7982,
CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocates. These volunteer advocates, or CASAs, are people like you and me who make a tremendous difference in the lives of children. CASAs undergo training and commit to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are part of the Child Protective Services system and need a voice in court. CASAs stay with a child’s case until he or she is placed in a loving, permanent home. Often a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in a child’s life. Currently, CASA serves almost 300 children in McLennan and Hill counties. Before the holidays CASA asked each child for a wish list of four things: something they need, something they want, something to read and something to wear. You can provide everything on a child’s wish list for an average cost of only $100. CASA is currently accepting applications for new advocates who want to speak out on behalf of children in need. Save the date for CASA’s annual fundraiser, Crawfish for CASA, on April 28, 2017, and visit for more information.

Christian Women’s Job Corps of McLennan County
A better world for women and families in Waco
1101 Wooded Acres Drive, Suite 107, 757-0416,
Christian Women’s Job Corps has been making a better world for women and their families for more than 10 years. The women who attend CWJC learn to handle stress, communicate more effectively and understand the importance of commitment — all skills make them valuable to future employers and that enable them to change their families and communities. The number of CWJC graduates who are employed grows as individuals, businesses and churches get involved. CWJC knows employers across Central Texas have specific skill sets they need in employees, and it is anxious to help meet that need by providing training tailored to the local job market. If you are an employer, contact CWJC and let them know what skills your organization needs. CWJC has a waiting list for the classes it teaches in jails, and it asks for financial support for that curriculum along with the curriculum used in job training. It hopes to upgrade the computer lab for its students, so any contributions toward that project would be greatly appreciated. Your involvement and financial support of CWJC will make a lasting impact in McLennan County.

McLennan County Pack of Hope
Erasing hunger in McLennan County
P.O. Box 1545, 76703, 772-0975,
Not all kids look forward to Fridays. Some leave school not knowing if they will have enough food at home during the weekend. Pack of Hope steps in the gap to send each eligible child home with a backpack full of nutritionally balanced food. Pack of Hope works with 17 school districts in McLennan County and Rapoport Academy, using numbers from the state of Texas that indicate which students qualify for free/reduced lunch. Last year it fed 1,300 children a week. It takes $195, or 165 pounds of food, to feed a child for a school year. Over Thanksgiving, winter break and spring break, kids receive double portions. This summer Pack of Hope initiated a summer food program lasting 11 weeks. Look for food drives throughout the year, including Fill a Fiat with the Waco Women’s Lions Club and Fill a Truck with Baylor’s Staff Council. The Pack’s Wish List details the specific foods requested. Donations can also be made via PayPal on the website. Mark your calendars for Pack of Hope’s annual spaghetti dinner, donated by Poppa Rollo’s Pizza, on January 24, 2017.

Compassion Ministries
Transitional housing for homeless families
1421 Austin Avenue, 755-7640,
For more than 20 years Compassion Ministries has helped homeless women and families get a second chance at financial independence. This holiday season Compassion Ministries wants to ensure that homeless Central Texas families with children will continue to have the assistance of transitional housing. Compassion Ministries includes 12 apartments at Hope House as well as the Hope House Too duplex. The women and families who live there must be drug- and alcohol-free, obtain employment and participate in weekly budgeting and employment sessions. Residents may stay for up to six months. Compassion Ministries serves an average of 50 families and single women annually, including approximately 100 children, ranging from infants to teenagers. Thanks to a 2016 Endowment Match Award from the Waco Foundation, the Compassion Ministries endowment fund has almost reached its goal, which will enable the organization’s work to continue — without government assistance — long into the future. Compassion Ministries hopes you will consider a gift to its endowment fund in your holiday giving. For every $10 raised, Waco Foundation will contribute $1, up to a total of $10,000, by December 31.

Junior League of Waco
Women building better communities
2600 Austin Avenue, 753-5574,
The Junior League of Waco is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community. For 80 years the Junior League has helped grow and develop the leader within each woman so she can make a difference in this community. The league changes the life of each member who walks through its doors, whether she comes from a life of privilege or of poverty. It changes the life of a child who is given a book for the first time. It changes each teacher who is provided training from experts in the field so that she too can change a student’s life. Each parent who is given access to services when she didn’t know where to turn sees change not only in her life but also in her family’s. And often a league member finds a calling while serving the poorest in the community. Funds raised from the annual Deck the Halls Holiday Gift Market help support these initiatives and leadership training within the Junior League as it impacts the community through improving early childhood education and development for children ages 0-3. Endowment funds established through the Waco Foundation support the long-term sustainability of the league and the maintenance of the historic home, Clifton House, which serves as the league’s headquarters. Donations or bequests are always welcome. Women interested in joining this dynamic group of volunteers are encouraged to apply at

Generations Adoptions
Hope for future generations
400 Schroeder Drive, 741-1633,
Adoption can bring hope to future generations by providing families for children and infants in need. Generations Adoptions has placed more than 200 children into permanent adoptive families since opening in 2004. It is a nonprofit Christian adoption agency that provides a comprehensive network of care for expectant moms considering adoption, adoptive families and children. Whether your family is interested in domestic adoption, international adoption or embryo adoption, Generations Adoptions can help. Not everyone will adopt, but everyone can help make adoption an option for a child. Donations that fund adoptive family scholarships are also needed. At this time of year Generations Adoptions requests gift cards for office supplies and gift cards for meals that staff can use while traveling to care for expectant moms across the state. The office also needs two laptops. Each fall Generations Adoptions puts on the Hope Gala, an evening at the Baylor Club with silent and live auctions, delicious food and inspirational stories from adoptive families and birth mothers.

Go. Love. Connect.
1500 Columbus Avenue, 300-7658,
For over a decade Jesus Said Love has been committed to reaching exploited commercial sex workers through outreaches and programs that awaken hope and empower change. With teams in Waco, Dallas, Temple/Killeen, Bryan/College Station, San Antonio and now Houston, JSL advocates for and supports women still in the industry as well as those who choose to leave it. This fall JSL opened its state headquarters and storefront, Lovely Enterprises, at 1500 Columbus Avenue. The headquarters includes training and equipping space for individuals and groups, a counseling center for case management, a small gym, a commissary kitchen for caterers and food truck operators and a retail storefront that provides employment for former dancers. In addition, JSL has a transition fund called The Dixie Fund that assists women leaving the industry. The fund needs cash donations as well as gift cards from Target, H-E-B and Walmart, or it can accept Visa gift cards in denominations of $25, $50 or $100. JSL has gathered a group of local business owners, doctors, lawyers, counselors and financial planners called House of Love who provide services at deeply discounted rates for clients. To volunteer or donate, visit the website. And mark your calendars for the third annual Wild Torch fundraiser, weaving together visual and performing arts, coming April 10, 2017. Visit for details.

Talitha Koum Institute
Rise up!
P.O. Box 2202, 76703, 753-1144,
In the book of Mark, when Jesus reached the bedside of Jairus’ daughter, she was already dead. Even so, he called out to her in Aramaic, “Talitha koum,” or, “My child, rise up!” Talitha Koum Institute is a mental health therapeutic nurture center helping children ages 0-5 rise up out of poverty. Helping a child to rise up can be as simple as rocking a baby, reading a book to a toddler or playing with a boy or girl who can benefit from a little extra nurturing. Currently, Talitha Koum needs Tonka brand sturdy steel vehicles for children to use during playtime. For its teachers and mentors, who spend time rocking and cuddling little ones, consider donating a Community Glider, made by Community Playthings. The gliders cost $590 each, and two are requested. And always, a package of size 4T or 5T Pull-Ups will quickly be put to good use. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 4, 2017, for Rise Up, Waco!, a new event encouraging the people of Waco to rise up and help children in need.

Family Abuse Center
Everyone deserves a violence-free, safe and healthy life
P.O. Box 20395, 76702, 800/283-8401 (24-hour hotline),772-8999 (office),
Family Abuse Center seeks to eliminate domestic violence in Central Texas by sheltering victims and by preventing abuse from occurring through intervention and education. It works in McLennan County as well as in Bosque, Ellis, Falls, Freestone, Hill, Limestone and Navarro counties. Family Abuse Center provides counseling, legal assistance, life skills training, financial planning classes and help for children from abusive homes, including field trips, summer activities, support groups and homework tutors. In addition, the BOOST program works with teen ambassadors to prevent dating violence. Volunteer training must be completed before volunteering can begin. This year Family Abuse Center was made a recipient of Waco Foundation’s Endowment Match Awards, a matching program for endowment funds. For every $10 contributed to the fund, Waco Foundation will match $1, up to $10,000, by December 31. This matching grant allows the Family Abuse Center to strengthen its efforts to secure sustainable funding for survivors of domestic violence. Because of this tremendous opportunity, Family Abuse Center encourages donors to give toward the endowment and ensure that the organization’s lifesaving services remain available.

Toys for Tots
All aboard!
2100 North New Road (U.S. Marine Corps Reserve office), 772-5541, ext 3014,
Every December when Wacoans see the image of the little red train, it’s a reminder that it’s the season for Toys for Tots. And even though it is December, it’s not too late to climb aboard. The Salvation Army serves as the registration point for Toys for Tots and needs more than 10,000 toys this year. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation operates the local toy drive under coordinator Staff Sergeant Markisha Whitehouse of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Many families make a tradition of dropping off a toy at the KWTX Toys for Tots Drive-By. News 10’s Rusty Garrett is the spokesperson for the Central Texas toy drive and will be at the KWTX offices again December 16 from 3-10:15 p.m. Bring all donations — including monetary ones — to KWTX, located at 6700 American Plaza. Toys are needed for boys and girls, ages 0 to 15. Toys for Tots gives away 100 percent of the donations it receives.

Project Angel Tree Central Texas
Be an angel
3615 Franklin Avenue, Suite 345, or Richland Mall, 296-8949,
You can be an angel when you purchase a gift for a child with a parent in prison. Although Project Angel Tree Central Texas is affiliated with Prison Fellowship Ministries, which is a national organization, it helps ensure that local children receive a Christmas gift. After businesses and churches adopt children, the names of those who remain are placed on the tree at Richland Mall. Each angel has a child’s name and a wish. The tree is already up in the Santa Claus Court across from J.C. Penney and will remain there through December 18. Project Angel Tree has served Central Texas children since 1981, not only in Waco but also Bruceville-Eddy, Elm Mott, Marlin and surrounding Central Texas towns. When children receive a present from Project Angel Tree, it lets them know that somebody loves them.
If you’re busy this holiday season and don’t have time to shop for a gift, consider dropping off a donation — Project Angel Tree has volunteers who can purchase a gift on your behalf. “We’ll do the shopping for you!” said Sharon Eads.

Methodist Children’s Home
Offering hope since 1890
1111 Herring Avenue, 800/853-1272,
Methodist Children’s Home has been offering hope to children, youth and families for more than 125 years through residential services at the 130-acre Waco campus, next to Cameron Park, and at the MCH Boys Ranch, located 10 miles northeast of Waco. While the majority of children who live at MCH are ages 12-18, exceptions may be made for younger children in order to keep siblings together. MCH is deeply rooted in Waco, but its impact is felt beyond Central Texas, with more than a dozen MCH Family Outreach office locations throughout Texas and New Mexico that provide in-home and community-based services. To assist MCH in providing the best care for children, consider one of the following levels of sponsorship: $25 provides diapers and wipes for children in the Family Outreach programs; $50 pays for music lessons for one child for one month; $75 makes you a Secret Santa for a child at a residential campus; $100 covers the cost of clothing for six months for a child age 0-2; $225 pays for school uniforms and supplies for a student attending the MCH Charter School on the Waco campus; and $500 sponsors one child in Future Farmers of America. MCH is blessed to continue its legacy thanks to faithful support from the
Waco community.

Waco GoodFellas
Helping kids believe in Santa
The Waco GoodFellas believe there is some good in every child. For more than 20 years they have helped Central Texas children believe in the miracle of Christmas and the importance of giving. The GoodFellas provide presents to children in need, along with a Christmas lunch for their families. It began with a group of men, all small business owners, who each put $250 in a hat and went looking for families to help. Along the way their group became a nonprofit and picked up some significant sponsorships: Waco FM-100, Salty Dog Sports Bar & Grill, Oliver Bros. Transmissions and Outback Steakhouse. Each year on the Saturday before Christmas, Outback Steakhouse caters a lunch at Waco Founder Lions Club Den for the families receiving assistance. Mr. and Mrs. Claus are flown in by helicopter, and then the gifts are distributed. In the summer, Waco GoodFellas puts on a Christmas in July celebration to raise funds for the Christmas distribution. But if you didn’t get a chance to donate then, GoodFellas still needs assistance buying and wrapping gifts.

Combat slavery, ignite hope
505 North 20th Street, 754-0386,
UnBound Waco activates the local community to fight human trafficking through prevention, professional training and survivor advocacy. Working with local schools and the juvenile detention center, UnBound brings anti-trafficking education to at-risk youth to prevent human trafficking and identify current victims. UnBound provides free training to professionals and community members at schools, churches, social clubs and community-wide events — contact UnBound if you would like someone to speak to your organization. UnBound also leads the Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition and works closely with law enforcement to stop the tide of human trafficking. UnBound is a growing organization with chapters in Fort Worth, Houston, Seattle, Mongolia, Greece, and South Africa, each with its own director and focus, depending on the needs of the community. For Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month, UnBound Waco will host a community-wide awareness event January 14, 2017. Find out more at Your efforts and gifts will go directly toward fighting human trafficking in Waco.

YMCA of Central Texas
Nurturing the potential of every child and teen
6800 Harvey Drive, 776-6612,
Serving Waco and McLennan County for more than 130 years, the YMCA of Central Texas is there for every child and teen. With so many demands on today’s parents and the increased focus on early brain development, families need all the support they can get to nurture the potential of kids. The YMCA of Central Texas believes all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. At the YMCA, youth in the Waco-McLennan County area find self-reliance through the Y core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Staff members work to build relationships and foster skills that help young people cultivate better health and educational achievement. The Youth Development Department offers 16 after-school locations throughout the community along with summer and holiday camps, No School Fun Days and early childhood programs. All kids have great potential, and the YMCA is dedicated to providing financial assistance so every child can pursue his or her best possible future. Strengthen the community by supporting a family through a financial gift, volunteering your talents or obtaining a YMCA membership. Visit one of the YMCA’s three campuses — Doris Miller Family YMCA, Waco Family YMCA or Edna Learning Center — and make a difference in a child’s life.

Youth Connection Waco
Making goals reality
P.O. Box 20984, 76702, 202-8480,
Since 1988, Youth Connection has empowered young people and helped them make wise choices, overcome obstacles and live their lives to the fullest. In 1996, Youth Connection brought the Real Care Baby program to Central Texas and has been successfully managing it ever since. The infant simulators are available by appointment to all area high schools. The simulators depict features of a real baby and offer students the opportunity to fully comprehend the emotional, physical and financial demands of parenting. The simulators cry throughout the day and night, replicating the unpredictable schedules of real babies. Counselors from Youth Connection also visit teen mothers who give birth at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center to provide guidance and resources about education, parenting, job training and other issues. The agency’s Too Cool for Trouble after-school program covers topics such as good character traits and personal wellness. Youth Connection will host its 21st annual conference, “Moving Forward: Effective Ways to Reach our Youth,” for professionals who work with young people. The conference will be held April 7, 2017, at the MCC Conference Center and will address new programs, methods and strategies to use with youth.  

The Arc of McLennan County
Opportunities. Inclusion. Choices.
1300 Austin Avenue, 756-7491, wacoarc.orgv
The Arc of McLennan County supports individuals and families impacted by intellectual and developmental disabilities, giving them opportunities, a sense of inclusion and choices. It also operates The Opportunity Center, a place where adults who are on the autism spectrum can develop vocational skills and find a niche after high school. If you are interested in volunteering and are age 18 or older, applications are available online to work with children in the after-school and summer camp programs. Although The Arc is a United Way agency, two-thirds of its funding comes from local sources. On April 2, 2017, The Arc will hold its annual event, Boots On The Brazos, featuring a catered barbecue dinner, open bar, live music, dancing and raffle items. Kiwanis Club of Waco also sponsors an annual golf tournament benefiting The Arc on a Thursday in late May. During the holidays The Arc needs monetary donations that can be used to purchase gift cards for clients.

United Way of Waco-McLennan County
Helping people here
4224 Cobbs Drive, 752-2753,
The United Way has been working in Waco since 1923, when it was called the Community Chest/United Fund. It raises contributions from companies and recruits volunteers to help meet the needs of families and individuals. The 21 local agencies that United Way of Waco-McLennan County has assisted include Family Abuse Center, Heart of Texas MHMR, the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children, The Salvation Army, The Arc of McLennan County and Compassion Ministries. Working to support these organizations, United Way has helped more than 41,000 people in McLennan County in their times of need. As the United Way moves forward, it focuses on issues relating to education, income and health. Its ultimate goal is to connect citizens with service opportunities through a coordinated and monitored giving program. Get involved today!

Waco Regional Baptist Association
Connect. Support. Train.
2911 Herring Avenue, Suite 212, 753-2408,
The Waco Regional Baptist Association is a voluntary network of more than 90 Baptist churches in Central Texas. It helps connect unique and vibrant McLennan County churches and ministries, each serving its own neighborhood. WRBA offers training to empower church leaders and helps fund grants to ministries that benefit the community, including jail visitation, college outreach and programs that alleviate hunger. This year WRBA is a recipient of Waco Foundation’s Endowment Match Awards. That means for every $10 donated to the Missions and Ministry Endowment Fund, Waco Foundation will add another $1, up to $10,000, by December 31. Small grants are made from the interest of the fund. The bigger the fund, the higher the interest, and more interest means more grants and more ministry. To contribute, go to the Waco Foundation’s website and select the Ministry and Missions Endowment Fund of the Waco Regional Baptist Association. The value of a dollar donated today will multiply and bless others for years to come.

Waco Foundation
For Waco. Forever.
1227 North Valley Mills Dr, Suite 235, 754-3404,
As a philanthropic community partner, Waco Foundation helps local donors maximize their gifts for themselves and the nonprofits they support. Most of the giving options presented in the Giving Guide are straightforward: a check, a bag of dog food. But especially at the end of the year, donors may want to consider other charitable options, including non-cash gifts. We asked the Waco Foundation to share some end-of-the-year tips for giving so that your gift generates the greatest benefit for you and the organization you care about.

IRA Charitable Rollover
The IRA Charitable Rollover provision, made permanent last year, allows individuals who have reached age 70 1/2 to donate up to $100,000 from their Individual Retirement Account (IRA) directly to a public charity. The donor is then able to exclude the direct rollover from taxable income. This provision has been a popular way to make charitable gifts while also satisfying IRA minimum distribution requirements without impacting taxable income.

Gifts of Stock
A donor may avoid capital gains tax by donating appreciated stocks, bonds and/or mutual fund shares they have held long-term (more than one year)
to a nonprofit. The donor is able to claim a federal income tax charitable deduction for the full market value of the security donated rather than the lesser amount they originally paid for the security. Additionally, the donor may eliminate all capital gains tax on the transaction. It’s important to remember the donor should give the appreciated stock directly to the charity to avoid triggering a taxable transaction.

Gifts of Business Interests
When the time comes to transfer or sell a family business, there are many reasons to consider including charity in the plan prior to transfer. By gifting
a business interest directly to charity, whether it is held in the form of closely-held stock or an interest in a limited partnership or limited liability company, the donor is able to claim a charitable deduction for the appraised value of the business interest donated. The value for tax deduction purposes must be professionally appraised according the Internal Revenue Service rules and regulations (see reporting requirements of IRS Form 8283).

Private Foundation Partnership with Donor Advised Fund
Private foundations are subject to excise taxes for failure to make annual qualifying distributions of at least 5 percent of the preceding year’s average investment asset balance. To satisfy this requirement, private foundations may establish a donor-advised fund using the remaining annual qualified distributions, satisfying the annual payout requirement and avoiding excise taxes. The private foundation may then advise grant distributions from its donor-advised fund through its normal course of business.

Shop For A Cause
Sometimes a regular, everyday purchase can benefit an organization you already support. When you buy from these retailers, the profits go back to the sponsoring agency. Also, don’t forget about resale and thrift stores — many are operated by local nonprofits that need your help.

Goodwill Industries
Donate. Shop. Change Lives!
1700 South New Road, 753-7337,
After the holidays, take some time to clean out your closet and bring the items you no longer need to your nearby Goodwill. Goodwill Industries has served the Heart of Texas since 1955. It operates six stores in the Waco area and 16 stores in the Heart of Texas region. New items are introduced on the sales floor each day, and you can also shop online. Your purchase at Goodwill creates jobs and funds training programs for people with disabilities and disadvantages through Goodwill’s Learning Centers. Job counseling and other employment training programs are offered at no cost to the public. When you donate or shop, you change lives right here in the heart of Texas.

Jubilee Food Market
1505 North 15th Street, 537-1206,
December 1 a new nonprofit grocery store, spearheaded by Mission Waco, opened at 15th Street and Colcord Avenue. For many years, those living in this food desert area of North Waco have not had access to healthy and affordable food, since the closest grocery store is 2.2 miles away. That all changed when the doors of the old Safeway grocery store, built in 1925, became the fully renovated Jubilee Food Market. The store is open to anyone, so feel free to shop for your own grocery needs. And ask the employees about how you can get involved in this exciting new venture.

1224 Franklin Avenue, 756-0131,
Waco Habitat for Humanity builds houses — most people know that. Not everyone knows that it also operates ReStore,
a building materials center where recycled merchandise is sold at discounted prices. The net income from ReStore builds and repairs homes in our community. DIY-ers who shop at ReStore during the holidays will find white paint, paint brushes, brick, block, pavers, fans, lights, doors, cabinets, lumber and windows. Check out what local shoppers have done with their ReStore purchases at ReStore will open Friday, December 2, from 5-9 p.m. for a holiday event called Elf on a ReStore Shelf. Purchase a ticket and enjoy food, drinks, music, Santa and shopping after hours.

World Cup Café
1321 North 15th Street, 757-1748,
Sometimes supporting an organization is as easy as purchasing a cup of coffee or an omelet or the daily special. Come and enjoy a meal at World Cup Café, a ministry of Mission Waco. The cafe is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Specialty drinks are served weekdays from 2-5 p.m. Shopping in the Fair Trade Market is also available during those hours. The same room where you shop can be reserved for a special event with space for 45 people. If you are looking for a great location for your group’s Christmas meal, reserve the back room of the café, but don’t wait too long. If you have not discovered the World Cup Café, maybe it’s time to come on over.

Fair Trade Market (inside World Cup Café)
1321 North 15th Street, 757-1748,
At the back of the World Cup Café is a Fair Trade Federation-certified store that has been discovered by thousands of shoppers looking not only for unique gifts but who also want to participate in an economic model that is fair for the world’s poor. The only fully certified fair trade store in Waco is filled with beautiful jewelry, baskets, clothing and hundreds of handmade items created by the poor of the world. On the wall you can see the basic principles of fair trade that guarantee the artisans are treated with respect and opportunity. If you have time, let one of the staff share stories of the people who make the items. If you can’t drop by the café, check out the online store até.

Waco Downtown Farmers Market and around town, 799-5611,
Two years ago, World Hunger Relief, Inc. launched the Veggie Van, a mobile market that sells fresh, affordable, high-quality produce in food deserts. Anyone can purchase veggies from the van — go online to view a complete listing of stops on the van’s route. The Veggie Van booth at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market is open each Saturday morning. As the weather gets cooler, look for squash, root veggies and greens. In the spring and fall you can become a part of the farm’s CSA, with pickup either at WHRI or at the farmers market. When you shop at one of WHRI’s mobile outlets, look for tasty treats to give as gifts during the holidays.

Give All Year

Sometimes we get so busy that we don’t even think about giving until the holidays, and then we’re too overwhelmed to follow through. We may see an organization that we’ve always wanted to help and fear that we’ve waited too long, that it’s too late to make a difference.

Guess what? All these nonprofits need volunteers in January too. And in March. And oh, how they need you in the summer, when donations drop and regular volunteers go on vacation.

We hope you do more than read this guide and toss it aside. Pick a nonprofit that sparks your interest and get involved in 2017. They’ll still need you.

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