This food-focused holiday is among the few with roots in charitable service.

National Donut Day calligraphy lettering and doughnut isolated on white . Vector template for typography poster, banner, flyer, sticker, t-shirt, postcard, emblem design, etc.

Waco, TX  June 2, 2023  On the first Friday in June, Americans celebrate all the gooey goodness of donuts. But many don’t know that National Donut Day has its roots in doing good. This sweet tradition dates back to World War I, when nearly 250 Salvation Army volunteers known as “Donut Lassies” traveled overseas to provide emotional and spiritual support and fried confections, supplies, and other services to troops on the front lines.

The Donut Lassies fried donuts in small pans and are credited with popularizing the donut in the United States when troops returned home from war. The Salvation Army in Chicago celebrated the first National Donut Day in 1938 to help those in need during the Great Depression and commemorate the Donut Lassies’ work.

For over a century, the organization has provided a wide range of essential services like food, shelter, and emotional and spiritual support to the most vulnerable and to many of the men and women serving on the front lines of need.

“This National Donut Day, as citizens of Waco celebrate with a sweet treat, we are proud to remember that this fun tradition started with our volunteers over a hundred years ago,” said Major Jim Taylor. “If you ask me, knowing that the day has its roots in the fight for good makes those glazed pastries taste even sweeter.”

To honor the history of Donut Day, The Salvation Army of Waco will celebrate by spending the day dropping off donuts to First Responders who fight the battle here at home.  A “Donut Lassie” will be handing out donuts to over 100 veterans at the VA hospital.  Another “Donut Lassie” will be at the HEB on Valley Mills to greet and meet guests as we partner with them statewide to celebrate this day.  HEB donated a portion of the donuts for the day and will be giving back 2% of all donut sales for the week (not prepackaged boxes) to The Salvation Army Waco.  Shipley’s makes over 20 dozen donuts for delivery as well.  

The best way to participate with The Salvation Army Waco is by volunteering either at the Family Store or the Community Kitchen and during the Holidays when Bell Ringing Season is here.   Volunteer activities are posted at:  The Salvation Army Waco/McLennan County – Volunteer Console (  You can also support the Salvation Army financially by giving online at Donate to TSA Waco General Donation Page (

For more information about The Salvation Army of Waco, please visit our website at:  or call 254.756.7271 or email [email protected]

Waco helping clean up dining adventures

By Ferrell Foster

Fifteen months into my life as a Waco resident, I’ve discovered something new — local restaurant food inspection scores. It’s on the City of Waco website.

KWTX channel 10 reports area restaurant inspection scores.

I ran across this when I saw a story about the scores on KWTX channel 10’s website. I do not totally understand why the scores in the KWTX report do not match up with scores on the city site for the same restaurant; I suspect it has something to do with the reporting day.

When it comes to restaurant scores, lower is better. On the city site there are many zeros (hooray!) and the vast majority have scores in the single digits (more subdued celebration).

The channel 10 report highlighted two Greater Waco scores of 90. Yikes! And the losers are: Burger King #3714 at 103 East Loop 340 in Lacy Lakeview and Cracker Barrel #166 at 4275 North IH-35 in Lacy Lakeview.

Wouldn’t it be nice if restaurants had to to post, in 12-inch lettering on their doors, their most recent score. You’re walking up to your favorite place, which has always in the past had a big “0” on its door, to find a “75.” Whoa! Better think before you open the door and spend your money. Thoughts: There is a new manager. Last time I was here the mashed potatoes didn’t seem right.

Well, restaurants do not have to post their numbers, but we can look them up online, so that’s pretty cool. (Of course, some people do not have Internet access, so they are at a disadvantage in getting this info. Inequities are real.)

I liked that channel 10, after outing the bad players, presented this week’s Clean Plate Award winner — Mamaka Bowls at 215 South University Parks Dr. in Waco, “which obviously got a perfect food inspection score.”

Mamaka’s has endless combinations, the TV station reports. “There are specialty ingredients such as almond butter, cacao nibs, coconut shreds, and spirulina, which is basically blue-green algae. Of course, if you like it plain and simple, items like The Mac with mango, strawberry, pineapple, orange juice, topped with the fruit and a little homemade granola could treat your taste buds right.”

Publicly posted restaurant inspection scores protect all of us from bad players and helps us find the good ones. There simply is no go way for consumers to know what’s going on in the kitchen without such scores. You can get some clues about the cleanliness of a restaurant from how it cares for it’s dining area and, especially, its restrooms. (I have a desire to visit a restroom before I order. Sometimes I regret I went after eating.)

Food is important. A big tip of the hat to the many, many restaurants who are working hard to keep it clean. We need to honor them with our dollars. There are options; we don’t have to do business with dirty eateries. Of course, I wish they would all earn a zero. That would be better for everyone.

Ferrell Foster is acting executive director of Act Locally Waco and senior content specialist for care and communication with Prosper Waco.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Local restaurant owners harvesting hope

By Maddie McNamee

If you’ve ever been asked about the best brunch spot in Waco, odds are you’ve probably recommended a local treasure called Harvest on 25th. The restaurant, which was born out of a passion for wholesome food and a desire to host good community and culture didn’t exactly start off as a restaurant. In fact, it started off with Juanita Barrientos selling food out of a small kitchen using the produce from Toby Tull’s family farm. 

Toby Tull and Juanita Barrientos

These future business partners had no idea they would soon open a wildly popular restaurant when they first made this arrangement, but when Tull tried some of the food that Barrientos was creating, the idea for Harvest on 25th was born. 

In November 2018 Harvest on 25th opened its doors, and this nutritious and delicious restaurant has been a go-to for Wacoans ever since. Cozy on the inside and sleek on the outside, the restaurant itself matches the food they serve —traditional breakfast and lunch staples with a healthy and unique spin. 

The eatery has been popular among Baylor students and locals alike for a little over three years now, with people like Emily Hoppie, a recent Baylor graduate, praising her favorite brunch spot, saying: “I love the atmosphere at Harvest on 25th. The people are so kind, the food is always amazing, and the restaurant itself is adorable.” 

It was Emily and the many like her that felt the devastation right along with the owners and employees of Harvest on 25th after learning the news of an electrical fire that broke out at the end of April, destroying the kitchen and entryway. 

In the immediate aftermath, the future of the little restaurant that was loved by so many looked unclear. Co-owner Juanita Barrientos said: “The first thought for me was my employees and the devastation they were feeling. Our team is very much a family. We have all worked tremendously hard just to see it in flames. It was tragic. Especially coming out of the pandemic.”

In an effort to keep her and co-owner Tull’s dream going, the pair started a GoFundMe in hopes of raising enough money to cover the cost of damages. What they didn’t expect was to immediately raise $20,000 — a testament to the support locals have to the place serving food not only good for the body, but good for the soul. 

Barrientos touched on her overwhelming appreciation, stating: “The response to the GoFundMe was an amazing surprise. I underestimated how special Harvest on 25th is to this community, and what a positive impact it makes on people’s lives. The love and support was overwhelming and humbling. We are incredibly thankful.” 

On top of the financial support from the community, other local businesses around Waco stepped up to support in other ways. An outpouring of messages flooded the comments section of the post that announced the fire on Instagram. 

Businesses such as Fabled Bookshop, Milk Bottle Cookies, Oh My Juice, and the Sweet Station were just a few that shared their sympathy and well wishes with the restaurant. Restaurants such as Revival Eastside Eatery, Milo, Dichotomy, Sloanes, Pinewood, Waco Axe, and Southern Roots Brewing Co. have even been so generous, with a few offering space for pop-up dinners and some even dedicating a portion of their sales to raise money for the business. 

Currently, Harvest on 25th is operating out of a commissary kitchen that generously offered the space to serve food out of. Barrientos and Tull are grateful to be able to keep their business running and keep their staff employed, but with the end of the pandemic in sight, convincing people to order take out has proven difficult. 

Barrientos humbly touched on this challenge, stating: “The only difficulty has been that we are a little off the beaten path for most people, so it’s easy to forget where we are. Also, people are dining more these days, so it’s a little difficult to promote takeout while the momentum is in the opposite direction after the pandemic — and understandably so!” 

Despite these difficulties, the future of Harvest on 25th is bright, with plans to reopen at the end of July. These owners are so grateful to Waco for their support and are ready to be back serving the community in a little over a month. 

In the meantime, those who are missing those delicious pancakes or mouthwatering breakfast tacos, don’t fret! Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. you can still pick up all of your favorites at 1523 Herring Ave. if you order online, and you can even attend a farm to table dinner at Milo June 22. Thank you, Wacotown for supporting local businesses.

Maddie McNamee is a creative writing intern with Act Locally Waco. She is a student-athlete at Baylor University and is pursuing a major in Professional Writing and Rhetoric. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Waffle Chic’s Evans: ‘Waco is a wonderful, awesome community of outstanding people.’

In honor of Black History Month, we are featuring interviews with local Black community leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media. The students asked questions about what the leaders love about Waco, and we are excited to share their responses with you this month.

By Skylla Mumana

For many new to the area, and even some long-term residents, navigating the city may prove difficult and finding things to do may seem even harder. However, local figures such as 38-year-old Shamica Evans are proving that the city has so much to offer. 

Shamica Evans

Evans is founder of Waffle Chic, a local food truck. There, she works to deliver classic Southern comfort food for the Waco public to enjoy. Her goal is to create community, which she continuously strives for by serving up fresh, mindful ingredients with a smile. She came up with the idea of her truck from her own personal experiences with single-motherhood.

“The name Waffle Chic originates from me being a single-parent with my kids,” she said. “The waffle is kind of like the mom, and the chicken is the chicks, my little chicks.” 

By selling chicken and waffles, Evans wanted to bring a fresh, new perspective to the food truck scene in Waco and expose the public to good, Southern cooking on the go. Inclusivity is a staple in her kitchen, and she strives to accommodate the needs of her customers every chance she gets.

“It’s healthier for those that are healthier, it’s still Southern for those that like Southern because I’m still using all the Southern spices. Kids can eat it, and older people can eat it, too,” Evans said. 

To Evans, Waco is a booming city that has room for both big and small businesses. She also thinks Waco continuously fosters a wholesome sense of community that rivals small towns. Growth and connection are two factors that help drive the Waco community and lead to what she describes as outstanding community building. 

“I don’t feel like we’re in competition. I just feel like we’re all growing with each other,” she said. “We’re a village here in Waco, and we’ve got plenty of giants who are willing to build empires and kingdoms with each other.” 

Evans is heavily involved in programs and organizations within the Waco area, such as Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Hewitt Chamber of Commerce. All of these organizations were instrumental in helping Waffle Chic get its start. Not only that, but Evans is also known to actively help out the homeless. Fueled by her faith and background, she hopes to give back to a community that gave so much to her. 

“They’re really the ones experiencing hardship,” Evans said. “I just see them as family as well, and still to this day each of them will come to my truck, and they’ll come to just say hello.” 

When it comes to describing how special Waco is, Evans had her own acronym to share.

“I could give Waco four words or phrases just by using the letters in its own name,” she said. “Waco is a wonderful, awesome community of outstanding people.”

By connecting food and community, Evans proves that not only does Waco have a variety of eateries to choose from, but it also is a city that is filled with people who inspire and prosper. 

“I’ve lived here in Waco my whole life,” Evans said. “I don’t see myself living anywhere else.”

Skylla Mumana is a freshman journalism major at Baylor University from San Antonio. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

2018 Greatest Hits #10: Want to have a great time in Waco? There’s an app for that!

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT) 

By Karen Rios

I became a Wacoan in January. Before that I literally only knew the Fazoli’s off of 35. I excitedly used my phone to explore my new home. However, I quickly got frustrated at all the articles and blogs that popped up on my search. Most revolved around Magnolia Market, and I knew that Waco had more than just the Market.

I really want people to know about an app that helped me learn about my new town. It’s called Waco & The Heart of Texas, and it’s free for Apple and Android. The Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau put together it together mostly for tourists, but I decided to give it a try anyway.


I love food! So, the first area I explored was the “savor” category. The app lists 141 food options. Through this, I discovered World Cup Cafe & Fair Trade Market, a locally owned business where you can eat with a purpose. I love their club sandwich. It’s a double decker with ham, turkey, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and your choice of condiments. Did I mention it comes with fries?

Next, the app’s food list led me to Butter My Biscuit. If you see day old biscuits still available, just go ahead and buy them. They sell out fast! The two main biscuits to choose from are Buttermilk and Texas, which has jalapeño and cheddar cheese. They also offer the biscuit “of the day”, which was Rosemary when I went. Every day is something different. You can’t go wrong with these biscuits!

Finally, I enjoyed Moroso’s options for Neapolitan wood-fired pizza and other Italian dishes. A good margarita pizza is hard to come by, but Moroso’s hits the mark. The crust is crunchy and light. They put the right amount of sauce and cheese, and the basil tastes like they just picked it from the garden. It’s a good size pizza, most people share, but I think it’s a perfect personal size. I normally go during lunch to take advantage of their margarita pizza special. My mouth is watering just thinking about all this food.

Waco offers a variety of food options with Wacoan pride. As a local you may already know of the restaurants listed, but it’s always good to have something to reference in case you forget or need to share with friends or family from out of town. The app provides all the information you need. The hard part– deciding where to eat.

Other categories to explore

Perhaps you want something other than food. The app offers 15 different categories to help you show off Waco.

In the “See” category I discovered Cameron Park Zoo. My niece and I watched the lioness chase her cub around trying to bathe her. It looked like the scene from “Lion King” when Simba was trying to get out of his “bath time.”

One of their unique exhibits includes The Brazos River Country.  The exhibit shows you the journey of the early Spanish explorers who searched for gold along the Brazos. Throughout the exhibit you see different species that they could have encountered along the River. My niece enjoyed it because the river runs through Waco and we even walked around to see if she spotted anything.

Another of my go to categories is “Events.” You can see what events happen around Waco. For instance, on May 4th I saw First Friday Waco. That is an event on the first Friday of every month, where business in downtown offer discounts, live music and extended hours. I even learned the Dr. Pepper Museum has free admission on First Friday.

There are at least 300 listings, you just pick a category and go through the options. The app provides a brief description of the place, their website, other media outlet platforms, a contact number, and the address. If you come across an event you like you can add that event to your Google Calendar or iCal. The app is easy to navigate.  They did all the work for us, so all we Wacoans have to do is plan out the day.


I love being able to save money anytime I can, but I absolutely hate having to give my email address in exchange for coupons! I liked that Waco & The Heart of Texas didn’t make me input my email address to get their Specials. On their app they provide at least 54 different coupons that Wacoans can use. (Side note:  If you prefer paper coupons, you can find them at the Visitors Center at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Museum, or at the Convention Center.

When my niece and I went to Cameron Park Zoo we used the coupon at least twice. The coupon gives you a free child admission with a purchase of an adult admission. I saved $7 dollars. You can keep using the coupons until December 31, 2018. Sure, it’s meant for tourists, but Wacoans can save money too.

Why should tourists have all the fun?

Wacoans can all benefit from this media platform. It provides a lot of options that you may know but not necessarily remember. You can plan a family outing and even save money. You can go on new bike trails. You can discover Waco history. You can provide more options to your friends and family. You can explore Waco in a different way. You can take advantage of the bus routes. You can try going to a winery. With over 300 listings, you are bound to find at least one new activity. Waco & The Heart of Texas might have been created for tourists, but Wacoans will know how to use it better!  (Free for Apple OR Android )

Karen Rios is a new Wacoan. She is currently attending MCC studying Digital Media. Although she is new to Waco, she is not new to the “small town” living. She loves exploring new towns and cities. She’s a sucker for hole-in-the-wall eateries. “Every day I discover something new about Waco, I realize how much beauty is here,” she says. “I like to brag about the scenery to all my city friends and family. I’m loving every minute of being a Wacoan.”