by Brian Manning
WALSENBURG — Maryann Chamberlain, the Director of Dorcas Circle Food and Clothing Pantry, said that volunteers are essential to run this program providing food, clothing, shoes and other necessary items to the needy.
Maryann has been volunteering since 2007 and finds this work very rewarding. She is from Nebraska and moved to this area 30 years ago where she and her husband raised six children. She home schooled them and even today they are still a very close family. When she was raising her family, she worked one day a week as a nurse and she called that her day off.
When she retired, her doctor said she should keep busy, so she decided to volunteer at Dorcus Circle to help people in the community.
Dorcas was named after a woman disciple from the Book of Acts who did good works and charitable deeds. She helped the poor by making clothing and feeding them. This is where the founder of Dorcas Circle, Peg Clymore, got the idea for the name.
The store and pantry are located at 608 Main Street in Walsenburg and open on Tuesday and Thursday. The food is free though people are asked to make a donation if they can. They get very busy at the end of the month when people run out of food stamps and need food to tide their families over. Most of the clothing is free as well as books, toys, blankets, shoes and other items
There are several volunteers who work tirelessly to help make this program possible. They work the two days the store is open, but they must work other days to collect food, keep the shelves stocked, and pack boxes. The work is hard and the need is great.
Safeway donates food and other food comes from Care and Share in Pueblo, churches in the area, and individuals. Volunteers drive to Pueblo to collect food from Care and Share. Volunteers for Change also holds food drives twice a month to supplement the supply.
Dorcus clients are also in need of toiletries, personal care items , stationary and other items not covered by food stamps. Maryann will often buy these items from a dollar store and pay for them herself. Donations of these items would be very helpful and appreciated.
This year, as of the end of May, they have given out 17,824 pounds of food which is a 17% increase over the same time last year. These statistics demonstrate the need for the program and dedicated volunteers such as Maryann Chamberlain and her staff who make it possible.