The Conway Housing Authority recently gifted 76 backpacks to the school-age children living in the program’s multifamily site.

The CHA aids about 500 families with some kind of rent assistance.

"A lot of them are elderly, elderly disabled and low-income families," executive director Mary Boyd, said.

East Oakwood Apartments and the Village of Seven Mornings are managed by the CHA, and the agency also serves more than 300 families in the county by paying a portion of rent directly to landlords.

The backpack giveaway is something the CHA has done for 20 years, but never to the degree it achieved this year.

"We haven’t had this large of a need before. Centennial Bank said they’d like to make a donation if we had something specific," Boyd said. "With their help we were able to increase the supplies, give the kids lunch boxes and do everything we couldn’t do years before."

The CHA’s effort was unique in that backpacks with grade and school-catered supply lists were given to children of all grades, even those entering their senior year.

"Some calculators were given out.," Boyd said. "We never would have been able to do something like that without Centennial."

Sharon Everrette, resident coordinator for the CHA, said the TI-model calculators are an expensive item on school lists.

"Because of the calculators, we had a good turnout of the older kids," Boyd said. "One of the gals that sold them to me said she used hers through college, so I feel it was a good investment. We did some shopping and got some discounts and stretched it pretty good, but then, we’re in the business of stretching."

Boyd said she was elated to see the relief on each mother’s face when the supplies were given and the smiles of students.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)