Dorcas Ministries provides compassionate assistance to area residents to empower people to become stable and self-sufficient.
COMPASSION: We will show kindness and sensitivity to our neighbors, as an act of faith.
DIGNITY: We will respect the unique worth of each individual.
JUSTICE: We will strive to lift up the least among us.
STEWARDSHIP: We will use sound business practices to manage the resources entrusted to us.
In June of 1968, a small group of Christians, brought together by Margaret Keller, met together to address a common concern: how to best serve our neighbors in need. From different races and denominations, but united in Christ, they agreed to work together under His guidance to help meet some of the needs of the Cary and Morrisville community. With backing from local churches, Dorcas Ministries was formed as “Christian Community in Action”. Dorcas Ministries has always, and continues to, strive to find solutions to the increasing and different needs of the community, hoping to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.
Dorcas Ministries began with a commitment to education through the Laubach literacy course and enrichment preschool programs for low income families. In the early days of the preschool program, 60 volunteers came together to help teach classes, provide meals or transportation. As the community grew, the dream of a thrift store, the first one in Cary, grew to become the Dorcas Thrift Shop, opening in 1972. Named for Tabitha, a woman of compassion in the Bible (Acts 9:26-43), the store was a place where families and individuals could shop with dignity for clothing and household items.
In the late 70s, the framework for client services office began. Dorcas began to help with food, gas, transportation for medical appointments, and other concerns as presented to Dorcas members.
Dorcas Ministries was incorporated by the state of North Carolina and granted 501 (C)(3) non-profit status by the IRS on April 15, 1983.
A Crisis Line was opened in 1984, where clients were interviewed and screened before meeting their needs. During this time, the Dorcas Thrift Shop continued to expand hours and moved locations several times. In 1987, Dorcas hired the first paid employee as the director of client services. By 1989, Dorcas was able to offer direct assistance to 516 families, composed of 1,917 individuals.
In the early 90s, Dorcas Ministries also contributed to the creation of The Carying Place, which is an organization that works to assist homeless individuals with housing and developing the necessary skills for self-reliance.
By 1994, it was clear that Dorcas needed more space and the membership decided to purchase land for a new location on Maynard Road. The new building was opened in 1997. At that time, the organization had an estimated 200 volunteers and had served an estimated 2,500 people through the client services office. With the new location, the Dorcas Thrift Shop was able to expand its hours and the client services office able to meet the needs of more clients.
As Dorcas celebrated 40 years of serving the Cary and Morrisville community, a new vision emerged. The need for space had also been a discussion for several years. In 2008, we purchased Dorcas Plaza off of High House Road, with a goal of creating a non-profit center in Cary to serve the needs of western Wake County. Today, Dorcas Plaza is 90% leased and 78% of our space is leased to non-profits.
We were able to move into our new space in 2011. With this move, we have been able to expand our Thrift Shop and services offered. We now offer programs that include financial and food assistance, emergency housing, career advancement programs, continued childcare scholarships, Jobs for Life and other training programs.
The partnership between Dorcas and the local churches has always been one of importance. Church Partners continue still today by giving support through financial gifts, promoting the needs of Dorcas to their congregations, and through volunteers filling different roles.
Since 2015, Dorcas Ministries has been named the “Best Charity” of Western Wake County by the readers of Cary Magazine.
In 2018, Dorcas Ministries was blessed with over 600 volunteers and had served an estimated 24,000 clients. We were thrilled to celebrate 50 years of serving our local community.
As we approach the next 50 years, we are guided by the experience and wisdom of the last 50 years. Our staff and Board of Directors are in the process of evaluating options to increase our client services capacity with our revenue generating potential. Over the past decade, we have added tools and resources to help our clients become self-reliant while addressing immediate crises. We found that looking beyond the symptoms to root causes is a far more effective method than the band aid approach.
While it has been a great first 50 years of service, we look forward to making the good better, and the better best, for our clients and community.
Dorcas Ministries is proud to be able to serve the community through its various outreach ministries. With the membership in various organizations, Dorcas is able to receive the support it needs to continue its mission of helping those in need.