At CORA, we believe that dependable, equitable access to safe and nutritious food is a fundamental human right. We also believe that food is more than a basic need. Food provides so much more than just nourishment; it is a way for people to connect. This holds true in Chatham County — where food connects us to family, celebrates our different cultures, and is essential to a thriving community. Over the past five years, we have grown tremendously and now offer various programs to assist our neighbors.
Recently, we reopened CORA with a new choice shopping pantry, warehouse, and community space. The new facility spans over 4,000 square feet and allows us to efficiently, safely, and compassionately meet the demand for food in our community. Our new choice pantry is set up like a grocery store, and community members can select the food that matches their preferences and needs. This creates an atmosphere of dignity and builds a sense of community between staff, volunteers, and those we serve.
CORA has expanded our pantry services by providing monthly deliveries to home-bound seniors, our most vulnerable population. We provide extra food monthly to income-eligible individuals through a partnership with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and the United States Department of Agriculture’s TEFAP and CSFP programs, serving approximately 1,150 people monthly.
In 2023, CORA established a satellite pantry in Siler City in partnership with Love Chatham, a nonprofit organization founded to serve those in our community facing homelessness and hunger. We are working closely with their leadership team to ensure they have the tools, food, and support needed to expand CORA’s services into Siler City.
CORA’s Mobile Market delivers nutritious food to people facing food insecurity beyond our pantry in Pittsboro. We hold monthly Mobile Markets in Siler City and Chapel Hill and occasional markets in other areas meeting the need where it is. Since 2019, this program has provided 28,000 individuals with over 500,000 meals.
Our SNACK! program provides food to children who depend on free or reduced-cost meals at school but face a lack of proper nutrition when school is not in session. In Chatham County, approximately 50% of public school children receive free or low-cost meals through the federal school lunch program because their family income is at or near the poverty level. Last summer, we served 1,327 children with more than 186,000 pounds of food. We also provide food on weekends and during school breaks from September through June with CORApacks, where each child receives a monthly food box containing three meals and two snacks daily for when they are not in school. We hope to serve 150 students through the CORApacks program in the upcoming school year.
Research shows that access to nutritious food is the key to a healthy community where children do well in school, families thrive, and seniors do not face the stress of choosing between food and other necessities. Last year, CORA served 10,220 individuals 1.28 million meals through our various programs.