CORA serves any Chatham County resident who needs emergency food through our Food Pantry. We are open five days a week, Monday – Friday, 10 am to 2 pm (excluding state holidays). Families receive a week’s worth of groceries at each visit, up to six times in a 12-month period. These weekly food allotments are selected to provide 21 nutritious meals for each family member. However, when additional assistance is needed beyond six visits, CORA makes sure each family gets the help they need. The pantry is a place of hope and comfort for many in our community, a respite from their struggles where there is always an empathetic ear, supportive smile, and shelves of food to help meet their needs. CORA currently fills 100% of community need requests and turns no one away.
Choice pantries allow families to select from a wide variety of foods that meet their personal dietary needs. CORA Food Pantry is set up like a grocery store, and families “shop” for their own food with the helpful knowledge of a volunteer. The amount of food available is tied to the size of the family based on USDA dietary guidelines. Families have shared that they feel valued and that their independent selections provide a sense of control and increased self-esteem in a time of great difficulty.
CORA purchases foods with lower salt, fat and sugar content when available, and encourages food donors to do the same: fruit in natural juice, whole grain breads and pastas, low sugar cereals, high fiber choices like brown rice, oatmeal, and a variety of beans.
CORA has our own garden and local community farmers donate fresh produce and farm fresh eggs. Grocery stores donate fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins throughout the year. Moreover, CORA is involved in cooperative relationships with Farmer Foodshare, the Society of St. Andrews, and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, receiving more than 50,000 pounds of fresh produce between the three.
CORA does not turn away usable donations. Most things that we cannot or do not distribute to the public are passed forward to other organizations that need them. When food is not safe for humans, it can many times be used for animals. Tiger Rescue and Piedmont Animal Rescue are two partners who help make sure donations are put to good use when the pantry can no longer use them.”