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COVID-19 Update

Posted on: March 27, 2020

First and foremost, I want to thank you! The outpouring of support over the past two weeks has been tremendously overwhelming. CORA’s doors would not be open were it not for your generous donations of food, funding, and hundreds of hours of volunteer time and talent. 

We realize these are trying times. As countless businesses have been forced to close their doors in response to COVID-19, many more people have been forced to rely on our emergency food for the first time. The need for our services has increased drastically. On a typical day, we serve between 45 individuals, representing 160 – 200 family members, last week that number jumped to over 350 daily. The reality that CORA faces today is that on top of the estimated 20,000 individuals in Chatham County who were facing hunger long before this crisis, we are on track to serve an additional 15,000 – 20,000 individuals who will either require additional food or need to access our food pantry for the first time because they are facing both hunger and food insecurity. 

CORA has no plans to end food distribution at this time and we are evaluating our services to ensure we’re doing as much as we can to get food to as many people as possible. I want to be candid and state that we are experiencing food shortages. A large food order was placed before COVID-19 became a serious problem, but unfortunately, that order was canceled as schools were closed and restrictions were put into place.  Last week I placed another large order with a different distributor, and we hope to receive it by April 3rd. As we plan for the weeks ahead, your support will continue to be critical to our ability to operate on a daily basis. 

Here is how you can help:

Donate Food

We would really appreciate donations of canned veggies, fruits, and proteins, such as tuna, chicken, SPAM, and ham. In addition, we welcome kid-friendly food donations, such as single-serve mac and cheese, applesauce, cereal bars, fruit snacks, cheese and crackers, and juice boxes. You can drop off food at 40 Camp Drive in Pittsboro Monday through Friday between 9 am and 1 pm.

Donate Money

We are purchasing additional food to help with the increase in need. We can make a dollar go much further than an individual would be able to at a grocery store because we are able to buy in bulk. You can send in donations to CORA at PO Box 1326, Pittsboro, NC 27312 or give securely online at

Donate Paper Bags

We are pre-packaging and distributing food in paper grocery bags and need as many of these as we can get!

Thank you again for all your support! It’s been an inspiration to see so much good this week – and at a time when it feels like life has been turned upside down.  I stand in awe of the volunteers who have come out to work alongside Liz and me in the cold and rain, as well as those who have been doggedly preparing pre-bagged grocery items inside the pantry.  I am so grateful to the restaurants who, despite their difficult circumstances, have donated soups, pre-prepared meals, and other items so that those in need may eat.  I’m thankful for our clients’ patience and acceptance as we continue to change the way we operate and enforce new guidelines. 

The ongoing donations of food and funding have offered me solace on evenings when I’ve left the office facing uncertainty about the coming day.  I find immense comfort in knowing that the community is standing completely around CORA as we walk through this – together (yet at a respectable distance)!  Working together we will ensure that all of our neighbors across Chatham County have access to food. Please follow our website and social media channels for continuous updates and please know that the staff, board of directors, and I are extremely thankful that we get to bear witness to such extreme generosity during these uncertain times. We appreciate your trust in CORA.


Melissa Driver Bears, Executive Director