Marguerite Vann Elementary School in Conway is not only a beneficiary of the Log Cabin Democrat’s Community Christmas Card program, but members of the school’s staff also give to it.
"We not only receive, but we also give," said school counselor Melissa Claycomb. "Most of the elementary schools do, I know. They put an envelope out and teachers and staff sign up and give money. Most of them choose to have their names included and family members’ names in the card."
Community members who donate at least $1 to the fundraising project will see their name or names of their choosing in the Dec. 25, Christmas Day edition of the Log Cabin Democrat.
Funds generated are distributed to Faulkner County school counselors, who upon being alerted of or observing a student in need, use the year-round "Christmas fund" to address it.
"At our school, glasses are the big thing," Claycomb said. "We’ve been able to provide a lot of glasses. Especially at the elementary level, children are rough on those. We’ve been able to provide hearing checks and doctor appointments as well, and have sent students to specialists."
Beyond students’ medical needs, the Christmas fund has been used to help maintain the quality of life for a student and their family.
"We’ve turned electricity back on," Claycomb said. "We’ve paid a month’s rent when they were going to be out on the street."
According to Claycomb, a change in the weather often reveals a child’s home situation.
"You notice who needs this more when the weather changes. In the spring, students may grow out of their weather appropriate clothes," Claycomb said. "They grow a lot in the school year. In the beginning of the year, we use it to help children who need appropriate clothing for school. We buy coats and shoes."
Claycomb said that without the money in their Christmas fund, the school would have seen a lot of needs through the years go unsatisfied.
"If it weren’t for the Christmas money, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this," Claycomb said. "Instead of telling you what we can do with it, I could tell you what we could not do. We couldn’t do any of it. The teachers know how important it is and how much we use it to help their students and their families."
In 2009, the Log Cabin and community members raised more than $23,000 for area schools and their students.
Donations may be made at the Log Cabin Democrat at 1058 Front St., by mailing them to Community Christmas Card, P.O. Box 696, Conway Ark., 72033, or online through PayPal at www.thecabin.net.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com 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)