By BECKY HARRIS

Special to the Log Cabin

The rains came to Conway at 11 a.m. on Thursday, shedding not a drop of discouragement on the 150 volunteers who delivered Centennial Thanksgiving boxes to 360 hungry families. 

While inside Trinity Hall at First United Methodist Church, more volunteers dipped up the traditional turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce to some 300 more folks.

Many of the volunteers were from Centennial Bank. The planning had taken weeks; cooking and baking had taken days. Some employees had worked long hours the day before; some had been at the church since 7 a.m. 

Johnny Allison, chairman of the board of Home BancShares, Inc., parent company of Centennial Bank, worked behind the scenes, simmering the green beans.

He joined his family later at one of the festively decorated tables.

Strangers met for the first time while standing in line, but all were greeted with "Happy Thanksgiving!" from those manning the ladles and from others awaiting the warm goodness. 

By 1 p.m., the crowd was dwindling, but the dessert table was still heavy-laden with favorites: pecan, pumpkin and coconut pie.

As closing time neared, Lori Case, senior vice-president and director of marketing of Centennial Bank, was washing up the serving dishes, while smiling at the success of the event.

This the second year the bank has provided the traditional feast, for years prepared and served by former Sheriff Bob and Catherin Blankenship and their daughters.

"It went much more smoothly this year," Case said. "We’ve got it down now."

Many in a hungry throng were grateful.