November & December 2023 Newsletter


Hey, Highlanders! You made it to the end of the semester—hooray! For those graduating next week, congratulations!! And for everyone, good luck with finals. Just one last push, and then you get to slow down over the winter holidays!

In this newsletter, we’re going to share some resources available on campus and in the community to help you out while the CREW offices are closed for the winter holiday break. Hang on to this email and reference it if you need assistance while off campus!

Spotlight: On-Campus Resources

This month, the CREW is running Laci’s Winter Clothing Drive. Throughout November, faculty, staff, and students donated new or gently used coats, sweatshirts, blankets, socks, gloves, hats, and more. And now all Highlanders get to “shop” the clothing closet for free! Swing by the CREW office (in Success Coaching Services on the second floor of the Student Services Building) to check out the collection!

Don’t forget to schedule an appointment to shop at Paulanne’s Pantry to add a few groceries to your pantry before the holidays. We’ve been stocking up with lots and lots of non-perishable goods to help you feed yourself or your family.

We also want to mention that there will be some changes coming to Paulanne’s in January, so be on the lookout for communications about what these changes will mean for your grocery shopping habits.​

Spotlight: Off-Campus Resources

Have you visited the CREW website yet? We work hard to regularly update our Campus Resource Guide with relevant resources and timely information so that you have access to community resources when unable to connect with the CREW. We want to direct your attention to a few particular links that might be helpful when McLennan is closed for the holidays.

  • After Hours & Emergency Resources tab on the CREW website lists lots of resources.
  • Shepherd’s Heart mobile food distributions will still be occurring 5 days a week in locations throughout McLennan County—including at MCC on 12/14.
  • is a great resource where you can search for types of resources in any zip code—even if you’re traveling over the holidays.
  • The City of Waco offers several Warming Centers in the event of inclement weather (<40 degrees). The linked website should be updated with any new info or centers.
  • The HEB Feast of Sharing offers dinner, wellness resources, and fun! There’s one event in Waco this month—Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 4–8 pm.
  • The Dobey Center will remain open for more of the holiday season than our office, and they can provide assistance with housing, case management, and more for young adults ages 18–24.


We’re so grateful for EVERYONE who helped make the Thanksgiving meal distribution a success last week! From the athletes who helped pack the bags, to the student workers and success coaches who helped run bags to cars, to the Physical Plant folks who transported hams from storage all over campus to our building, to the McLennan Police who helped direct traffic—this was truly a team effort, and we could not have pulled it off without y’all literally jumping in to help. Thanks for loving and serving our community so well!

Self-Care Tip

I, personally, am really excited for the chance to slow down over winter break—especially since I had a taste of that during Thanksgiving week. I hope to disconnect from technology quite a bit since I spend hours and hours each day in front of my laptop doing homework and my desktop doing things for the CREW. So I wanted to offer some tips for changing the way we interact with technology.

Complete overhauls rarely work, so choose ONE habit from the following list and try your best to implement it over break.

  • Leave your phone inside the house when outside with your kids
  • Leave your phone in your car or jacket pocket (in another room) when you go to a restaurant to eat or into a holiday party
  • Keep your phone in another room or across your bedroom at night so you’re not tempted to scroll before falling asleep or first thing when you wake up
  • Set time limits for yourself for apps that are particularly distracting (e.g., 1 hour/day for social media). Here’s how: iPhone; Android
  • Delete apps that you no longer use or that you find yourself turning to when you need a distraction from the task at hand
  • Set up “do not disturb” to automatically turn on at certain hours. If it’s important for certain people to still be able to reach you, you can create exceptions to the DND rule. Here’s how: iPhone; Android
  • Stop interacting with your phone at least an hour before you plan to go to bed

Your efforts won’t be perfect because it takes time to change a habit. However, the small changes you make this break will set you up to have a healthier relationship with your phone in the new year so you can focus more on the things that matter to you.

Easy Recipe

I’ve been seeing chicken spaghetti recipes all over the place, so I figured that was a sign to include an easy recipe for this month’s newsletter! You can make this casserole without dirtying a lot of dishes, and it’ll feed your family for a few days (especially if you double the recipe). It’s also pretty easy to whip up for a holiday party/potluck. And, there’s a good chance you already have most of the ingredients in your home!

Need any ingredients? Swing by Paulanne’s for some non-perishable goods, frozen meat, fresh fruit, cheese, and/or milk! There’s a good chance we’ll have most of the ingredients for this meal when you stop by to shop the pantry!

Chicken Spaghetti (Budget Bytes)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time:
 50 mins
Total Time: 60 mins
Servings: 6


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lb total)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt (for the pasta water)
  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 10oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained (Rotel)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using a sharp knife, carefully fillet each chicken breast into two thinner cutlets. Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the four chicken cutlets to the skillet and cook on each side until golden brown and cooked through (about 7-10 minutes total). Remove the chicken to a clean cutting board, and allow it to rest.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1/2 Tbsp of salt to the water then add the spaghetti pasta and boil until the pasta is tender (or al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, start making the sauce. In the same skillet that the chicken was cooked in, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  4. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and stir with the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flour starts to turn golden brown.
  5. Slowly pour the chicken broth into the skillet and stir to fully dissolve the flour from the bottom of the skillet. The flour will start to thicken the sauce when it returns to a simmer. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and the heavy cream to the skillet. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  6. After the chicken breasts have rested, chop them into smaller ½ inch pieces.
  7. Turn the heat off the skillet and add the drained diced tomatoes with green chiles, the chopped chicken, and the cooked spaghetti to the pan. Mix until combined.
  8. Add the chicken spaghetti mixture to a 9x13” casserole dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and cheese is melted.

NUTRITION (per 1 serving)

Calories: 572 kcal | Carbohydrates: 37 g | Protein: 24 g | Fat: 37 g | Sodium: 843 mg | Fiber 2 g

CREW This Month

Every Thursday, 1–5 pm @ LTC 321 || Greater Waco Legal Services

Reach out for legal advice—FREE to all students, faculty, and staff! Consultation is free, but students are responsible for costs associated with applications or court fees.
*Note: Will not occur over the winter holiday break

Tuesday, 12/5, 4–8pm @ Extraco Events Center || HEB Feast of Sharing

Head to the Extraco Events Center for some holiday fun and a good meal!

Thursday, 11/9, 3–4pm @ Parking Lot R || Shepherd’s Heart Food Distribution

Swing by Lot R for FREE food from Shepherd’s Heart! Free and open to anyone in the community!


More events are available on the  CREW calendar! Be sure to save the calendar so you never miss an event!

View past newsletters here:

*Composed by Emma Cartisano*