CHESTERTOWN - For months, a group of women at Community United Methodist Church talked about the growing needs of many local residents prompted by the recent economic downturn.
Weeks ago, these members of Luci's Circle figured out how they could reach out to those in financial duress, and they took action.
They publicized an effort via flyers and emails to gather quality used clothing, household wares and furnishings in both the church congregation and area communities, then they gathered the items their plea prompted.
Saturday, they opened a new venture in downtown Chestertown to provide goods at no charge to those in need.
Called the Community Share Center, it is located on Church street next to the Methodist Church.
The Share Center is open to all residents of Chester and adjacent communities, said Donna Lagoy, a member of Luci's Circle which founded the center. Lagoy and her sister Sue DeGrush were among those spearheading the effort.
"We live in a small community, and most of the women in our group lived here all their lives - we can tell there are needs that aren't being met," Lagoy said. "There's a center like this in Johnsburg and Schroon Lake, but not in Chestertown, so we wanted to do something helpful for people right here in our community."
On opening day, members of 10 families visited the Center, browsing through the inventory, which includes infant clothing and baby items, books, puzzles, paper products, personal care items, children's and adult clothing, dishes, bedding, dog and cat food.
Items needed now include winter clothing and outerwear, particularly in children's sizes. Donated items must be clean and in good usable condition.
Hours of the Center for November are limited to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but days and hours will likely be added as needed, and notice will be posted on the front door of the Center, Lagoy said. For details, to donate, or to volunteer, call 494-3374 or 494-3468.
Lagoy has set up a working relationship with the Chester Recycling Center at the town landfill, for storing and offering larger furniture items to those in need.
Lagoy said she hopes to network with North Warren Central Schools and the town food pantry, to expedite referrals.
"We're hoping we can reach a lot of people in need," she said, noting that people are welcome to exchange items too. Also, winter clothing can be borrowed for temporary use by those visiting the area, and then returned, she said.
"I like to see everybody helping others out," Lagoy said.