Shalonda Wells has lifted spirits at the Pantry every week since August 2020. Her clever graphic t-shirts and lively stories cultivate an atmosphere of light-heartedness and joy within the walls of the Pantry. She is constantly seeking ways to take an extra step of care and concern for the people we serve and is willing to help with any task necessary to support others.
Dr. Dan Graham (14- year volunteer): Pittsboro Food Lion Deliveries
My wife (Sally Zimney—also a CORA Volunteer) and I moved to the Big Woods Rd. area near Jordan Lake in 1988, after living in Carrboro/Chapel Hill for 10 years, where both of us attended Graduate Programs at UNC-CH. We have been active in community, environmental, and human equality organizations for the last 40 + years. Since finishing my PhD Program in Political Science, I have been a Teaching Professor at NC State, where I still work fulltime.
My community service inspiration came from my late mother (Betty Jean Graham), who grew up rather poor in Salisbury, NC. Mom was always active in her local Meals On Wheels Program, Red Cross, and other charities, after moving to Western NY. She believed that “throwing good food away was a sin,” so volunteering at CORA is a perfect fit for our family. Our son (Abram) and Kerry (now wife) also used to do CORA work when they lived locally and attended UNC-CH.
CORA has many dedicated and friendly volunteers, and a great staff. We feel very lucky to be part of such a wonderful team that helps to end hunger in the Chatham community.
Hillary Murray (15-year volunteer), Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer
Hilary Murray has been a paragon of volunteerism at Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA) Food Pantry since 2008. For the past decade, Hilary has functioned both as a regular volunteer and as a volunteer coordinator, often mentoring others in new volunteer roles. She has been faithful in her service to CORA through a period of phenomenal transition and growth. Today, she remains ever loyal to the organization and to the mission of creating a community without hunger.
Hilary has been instrumental in the recruiting, training and recognition of hundreds of CORA volunteers. In the last five years alone, she has trained almost 250 new volunteers, holding orientation sessions on a monthly basis. Hilary is especially giving of her time – often adjusting her own schedule to accommodate the needs of others by schedule training or orientation sessions at times most convenient for prospective volunteers. She makes sure that everyone who expresses an interest in volunteering for CORA has the chance to learn more about this fantastic organization and how he or she may find their best fit as a volunteer.
In addition to acting as volunteer coordinator, Hilary organizes “spruce up” days at the pantry so we can put our best foot forward for open houses and special events. In addition, she has volunteered in some capacity for almost every special event in the last seven years! Whether it’s recruiting other volunteers for an event, gathering homemade baked goods, soliciting gift items from local businesses for raffles and/or volunteer prizes – Hilary can always be counted upon to step up and help out!
Hilary received the Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer award on May 3, 2018 at the Agricultural Center in Pittsboro. Thank you Hilary for all that you do for CORA.