Organizers said Wednesday in the first week of fundraising, 518 names had been submitted to be included in the Log Cabin Democrat’s Community Christmas Card to Faulkner County students.
The Community Christmas Card is a special section printed in the Dec. 25 edition of the Log Cabin. For the donation of $1 or more, the name of the donor or the name of their choosing is included in the section.
Every penny of each dollar collected in the holiday effort is forwarded to area school counselors, who upon recognizing a student’s need, use funds to meet that need.
Cheryl Bramlett, RN at Conway High School-West, explained the reach of the Community Christmas Card.
"I cannot tell you how wonderful it is for the school to have this resource," Bramlett said. "There are situations where people don’t have money, resources, or they don’t know how to get help. Knowing that we have that cushion there to meet an immediate health need, it’s just wonderful."
Bramlett said needs met include dental appointments, which are a "huge need" for high school students.
"I say the same thing each year, but dental needs are huge for this population, this age of students," she said. "We recently worked with the Conway Interfaith Clinic and were able to get a student an appointment there to get her treated for an infected tooth and an extraction of that tooth. It was a situation where it had a huge cavity and pieces had broken off. It was obviously a long term problem that the family either was not able to afford to get fixed or did not know how to get help."
Shoes are bought, as well as coats at the high school.
Bramlett said that a portion of the fund is sometimes used at the end of the year to stock the Angel’s Closet. The closet is a store room of clothes that includes socks, underwear, shirts and other staple clothing items that a student facing difficult times may need.
The closet was established by Cheryl Daniels, CHS-W Caring Cats sponsor.
"I also buy personal hygiene products like combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste. Basically we help people who can’t afford even the most basic necessities," Bramlett said.
A dollar goes a long way, she said.
Just before Thanksgiving a student was having trouble seeing the board at the front of the classroom. He had apparently broken or lost his glasses, according to Bramlett.
"The student’s math teacher asked if I would do a vision screen on the student. He was having a hard time seeing in class. He failed the screen and I called his mom about the situation. She said they had used up their current benefits and he wasn’t going to be able to get glasses until January. I talked to my principal to see what arrangements I could make," she said.
The glasses were $60 to replace and Bramlett said that the student is able to function as before in his classes.
"Just think, 60 people in Faulkner County bought a kid a pair of glasses," Bramlett said.
To contribute to the Community Christmas Card, bring a donation to the Log Cabin office at 1058 Front St. To donate by mail, send a contribution to Community Christmas Card, P.O. Box 969, Conway, Ark., 72033. Donations may also be made online through PayPal at www.thecabin.net.