Tuesday at noon, one classroom at Conway High School bustled with activity as the Caring Cats Club filled boxes with clothes and toys, moved bicycles around and organized the donations — all in between hurried conversations and bites of pizza.
The Caring Cats Club is one of the school’s largest clubs with more than 200 students participating. Each year, the group puts on Angel Paws, collecting items for local families.
This year, the students from Conway High have collected gifts and necessities for 80 families.
"Families come to Caring Cats and Ms. (Cheryl) Daniels, the founder, and say something like, ‘I can’t get presents for my daughter or son,’ and it’s just a good way to help them out for them to have a merry Christmas," said club Co-President Emily Lock.
Like Angel Trees around town, Angel Paws are posted in the high school cafeteria with requests from parents and children. Socks, coats, games and bikes are just a few examples of what could make the list.
Every family has a number, and the requests are posted on index card paws in the cafeteria. Students, teachers and school staff and could pick up requests and purchase those items. The numbers on the back of the paws keep the families’ identity confidential.
Caring Cats has been around since 2005, said Daniels, a CHS special education teacher and one of the club’s advisors. Angel Paws is one of the club’s annual efforts to help those in need.
Co-President Beau Walter said he has been involved in Caring Cats since the tenth grade. He said he enjoys Angel Paws and raising money for Special Olympics through a powder puff game.
The Caring Cats helped organize the gifts into family boxes, and recipients will pick them up at their convenience as the boxes are ready.
"It’s just as cool for us to provide for them as it is for them to get it," said senior Casey Slayton, club photographer. "I took a few paws this year, and just going and picking out which baby doll she’d like better was a cool experience to buy something not for myself."
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