The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

How Wacoans Can Help

4 years ago

Pictured: Photo provided by Meals on Wheels Waco

By Claire Van Zee

Like Mr. Rogers so famously said, “look for the helpers.” And along with our amazing first responders, medical professionals, grocery store workers and other people working hard to ensure we all have what we need, it may help us in this unprecedented time to actually be the helpers if we are able.

With the rapid spread of COVID-19, our city is taking huge steps in an effort to flatten the curve and keep Wacoans safe. Our universities and schools have temporarily closed, as well as bars, gyms and restaurants (except for to-go and drive through service for now).

Many businesses, organizations and fellow Wacoans are struggling to make ends meet. It’s times like these that we have to step up and lend a hand to those in need. Here is a list of ways that those of you who are able can help out during this difficult time. Stay healthy friends and look out for one another!

Reach out to those in need.

One of the easiest and most helpful things you can do is to reach out to your elderly neighbors and friends to see what you can do for them. This might be a grocery or pharmacy run, or maybe just a friendly conversation. Social distancing can be very isolating for individuals who are unable to go to the places they normally go. Just being able to talk with someone and connect makes a huge difference. It’s important to watch out for those at-risk and do what you can to limit the stress of the circumstances. Meals on Wheels is continuing to deliver meals and need donations and volunteers. To volunteer call 254/752-0316, and for donations visit

Foster a shelter pet.

The Humane Society of Central Texas is asking for people to open their homes and foster a pet for up to 6 weeks. The Waco Animal Shelter may soon be forced to close their doors and their hope is to increase their foster base by 60 families before that time. As a foster home, they ask that you provide the pet with a home, food and love while the Humane Society takes care of medical expenses for the animal. Some of the animals may only need a home for a few days while they await surgery, while others may need longer to take a break from the stress of the shelter system. If you would like to help out in this way, contact the Foster Coordinator, Jenny at or call 254-754-1454. They will match you with the pet that best suits you and your family.

Leave the WIC items on the shelf.

While shopping, its easy and often savvy to buy the cheapest product on the shelf. However, it’s as important as ever to take a look at the price tag to see if it is marked with a small red WIC symbol. Due to the program restrictions, WIC participants are limited to approved products. If you see the tag and aren’t a WIC participant, choose another item to ensure everyone is able to buy what they need.

Support local small businesses.

They need your help in this time, too. For groceries, try the Jubilee Market or other small establishments. For other items, call your local shops and check if they’re open. Better yet, see if they have online shopping or phone order options and drive up pick up options to limit your time in contact with others.

Be Flexible

We at the WACOAN have been affected in ways, but as a small publishing company we are adapting. Our assistant editor, Jen, is working remotely since her children are home from school. College kids have come back home with some of our sales team. With a new baby, Brittany our production manager, is taking special precautions and has had to rethink groceries this week. Adaptability is what we are working on around here, but we are committed to continually updating our calendar of events and keeping readers informed on social media.

Stop panic shopping.

We know it’s tempting to stock up on toilet paper after seeing it disappear from the shelves on social media, but panic buying only contributes to shortages and more panic. Buy what you need for 30 days, and then stop shopping.

Stay home!

This may seem obvious but staying home and in one place is the best and most helpful thing you can do for your neighbors. In order to keep the virus under control, we need to limit our interaction with one another.

How are you helping others in our community? And how are you keeping busy at home? Leave us a comment below.