The Conway Newcomers Club held their regular monthly luncheon and business meeting at the Hole in the Wall restaurant, recently moved to the Old Gin.

Their guest speaker was Mr. Jim Davidson, a local nationally syndicated newspaper columnist with more than 300 newspapers running his column, including the Log Cabin Democrat.

He spoke to the group about A Bookcase for Every Child, a project he began in 2005. Jim recognizes that illiteracy is a massive national problem but believes that it is best solved at the local level. He came up with the idea to spread the joy of reading by building personalized oak bookcases and giving them, along with a starter set of pre-school books, to children in low-income families.

Each year, volunteers build 50 bookcases to be presented to children at an awards banquet held in April.

All this has been done exclusively through the use of volunteers, without the use of any tax or government grant money.

To help fund the project, a Bookcase Literacy Banquet is held in October. This year’s banquet will be held Oct. 11. Your admission ticket includes dinner, entertainment by the Conway Women’s Chorus, and a copy of the new revised edition of Mr. Davidson’s book "Learning, Earning & Giving Back."

The $15.95 admission price is used to fund materials for the bookcases and as "seed money" to help fund the starting of this project in other cities.

The Newcomer Club’s business meeting was held after Mr. Davidson’s presentation.

Two guests were introduced and welcomed. The Secretary’s minutes and a budget report were read and approved. Activities Chair Bev Freiley reported that we currently have 36 activity groups available to members.

She reported that more leaders are needed for these groups, and noted that we have several groups that remain inactive due to lack of group leaders. The Conway Newcomers Club currently has 150 members.

A new member’s coffee was held July 19 to allow prospective members to learn more about the club and to give them an opportunity to join.

Anyone who has moved to Conway within the past three years is invited to join our group. They may call 505-8373 or 205-4025 for more information.