Cary History: Volunteering is in Her Bones

Cary, NC — Jeannette Evans was one of the very first volunteers at Christian Community in Action’s Dorcas Thrift Shop when it opened in 1972.

When interviewed in 2009, She told us her history with Dorcas Ministries over all the years she had been a volunteer.

Jeannette Evans

“In 1968, Margaret Keller brought all the churches, black and white, together to start a daycare center so mothers could go to work. Then in 1972, they opened the Dorcas Thrift Shop to raise money, and a few years later, we started offering help to anyone that needed it.

It didn’t make any difference what color you are. We started out in a little building on the righthand side of Cedar Street, beside the railroad. We stayed there about a year, then moved to Chatham Street in uptown Cary. We were on the main street for two years, then we moved across the street in a tall building there. We moved again back to Cedar Street in another building. Then we went back to Chatham Street to the back of a long strip mall. We stayed there until we built our own building on Maynard Road, where we’re at now.

I was the manager there for fifteen years, and I’m still the day manager on Mondays. We help folks who need food, or help to pay their rent or bills. We didn’t know where the money would come from in the beginning, but the Lord provided. Back then, Cary didn’t have the needs we have now. Margaret Keller kept going and going. We recently bought the entire shopping center where the bowling alley is. Once we move in there, we’ll sell our building. With more space, we can help lots more people.

Different churches have always supported us. They send food to stock our food pantry. We sell toys and children’s clothes, especially during the holidays; plus adult clothes, furniture, books. When folks come asking for help with bills, we check them out first. We have a lady who provides social services, and teaches them how to handle their bills themselves. You get behind in your rent or your light bill, we will pay it once or twice, while she shows you how to take care of things each month on your own.

We started the Carying Place in 1993. It was a small thing at first. After they took over managing it, we still help them, but we don’t run it anymore. I still help there, too. Whole families come in who are about to lose their homes, and we feed them dinner while helping them find a place to live. The churches provide the dinners. Some families bring five or more children, and are on the brink of becoming homeless.

I still volunteer at Dorcas on Mondays. I do what I can. It’s in my bones.”

Story by Peggy Van Scoyoc. Photos

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Much of Cary History is taken from the book, Just a Horse-Stopping Place, an Oral History of Cary, North Carolina, published in August, 2006. The book is a collection of oral history interviews conducted between local citizens and Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel. The rest comes from later oral history interviews with local citizens. 

2 replies
  1. Howard Manning
    Howard Manning says:

    Thank you so much for doing this article on Ms. Jeanette. Ms. Peggy, thanks so much for sharing the history of the African American community in Cary. So much of this article is still true today. We are all blessed to have Cary Citizen in our community.

  2. Brent
    Brent says:

    Thank you Peggy for sharing another firsthand account of Cary’s history.

    Thank you Ms. Jeanette, Mr. Howard and Dorcas for making Cary a better place.

    And thank you CaryCitizen for publishing this information.

Comments are closed.