CONWAY Christmas is a time of tradition.
One of the longest-standing holiday traditions in Faulkner County is the annual pancake breakfast, silent auction, craft and bake sale sponsored in early December by the Faulkner County Senior Citizens Program. This year’s event, the 32nd, will be held from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Conway Senior Wellness and Activity Center, known until recently as the Conway Senior Citizen Center, at 1620 Donaghey Ave.
Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and younger. Advance tickets may be purchased at the center, from board members and from center participants. Tickets will also be available at the door on Saturday. Carryout meals will be available. The menu includes all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, juice, coffee and milk.
Elisa Key, activities director at the Conway center, said the silent auction, craft and bake sale will be set up in the north room of the center, separate from the breakfast area. She said auction items include jewelry, a Corliss Williamson autographed basketball, gift baskets, Christmas ornaments, a Razorback gift basket with Frank Broyles’ signature, and gift certificates.
“Our seniors have made many, many items for the craft sale, as well as the bake sale,” Key said. She said one of the favorite baked items from year to year has been a rum cake made by Vera Thomas, who died last year.
“Her rum cake will be here, made by me from her recipe,” Key said with a smile.
Key said a drawing will be held for an Arkansas Razorback queen-size quilt, handmade by Lollie Horn.
“Chances are $1 each or six for $5,” she said, adding that there will also be a handmade Arkansas Razorback pillow that will be given away in a drawing.
Key said the center will be decorated with several Christmas trees.
“Decorating is always a
big ordeal,” she said, “but we are fortunate to have volunteers help us decorate, as well as serve the meal on Saturday.”
Volunteers from Acxiom Corp. and Hewlett-Packard were on hand Monday afternoon to help with the decorating. Acxiom employees included Judy Tipton, Robin Hall, Kathy Joyner, Debbie Britton, Julia Cecil, Mike Marcussen and Debra Thorpe. Jodi Jones represented Hewlett-Packard.
Tipton said Acxiom employees volunteer in the community at numerous times during the year.
“We are real community-minded,” she said.
Jones said Hewlett-Packard allows employees to volunteer somewhere four hours each month.
“I volunteer for everything every month and have since the company opened three years ago,” she said.
“We are so blessed that we have people contacting us, wanting to volunteer,” said Debra Robinson, executive director of the Faulkner County Senior Citizens Program. “We will have big groups from the University of Central Arkansas and from AARP who will help us on Saturday. We are very appreciative that we are the first place where many want to volunteer.”
Robinson said approximately 450 people attended last year’s pancake breakfast, and more than 2,000 pancakes were served.
“We are very thankful to IHOP for providing the pancake batter for the last several years,” Robinson said. “They even mix it up for us. This enables us to serve hot, homemade pancakes. We love it.”
Saturday’s event is the biggest fundraising effort of the year for the program.
“We budget for this every year and hope to make $10,000 from it,” she said, noting that the program was started in 1974 and operates senior centers in not only Conway, but also in Greenbrier, Vilonia, Mayflower, Twin Groves and Mount Vernon. The program provides home-delivered meals, transportation, congregate meals and recreational activities.
“We provided 140,000 meals and 20,000 transportation trips this past year,” said Robinson, who has been executive director of the program since 1978. “Our goal is to keep seniors active, independent and in their own homes for as long as possible.”
The Conway, Vilonia and Greenbrier centers are open from 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, with special activities often scheduled in the afternoons and evenings. The Mayflower center is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; Twin Groves’ hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and Friday; and Mount Vernon, the only center to serve breakfast, is open from 7 a.m. to noon Monday and Friday. Lunch is served at all of the centers for a donation.
For more information on Saturday’s activities or the Faulkner County Senior Citizens Program, a United Way agency, call (501) 327-2895.