CORA (Chatham OutReach Alliance, Inc.) operates the largest food pantry in Chatham County, North Carolina. We are located in Pittsboro, the county seat. Chatham is a large rural county (709 square miles) just west of the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Research Triangle area and just east of the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem Triad area. In spite of our proximity to affluent cities and developments, the economy in Chatham lags far behind our neighbors, unemployment is high, and jobs are scarce. Our mission is to provide for the basic food needs of our food-insecure citizens while they work their way toward self-sufficiency.
Mission: The Chatham OutReach Alliance is dedicated to acquiring and distributing food to Chatham County residents who have a need for temporary community support to keep themselves and their families fed.
CORA Food Pantry was founded in 1989 as the Chatham OutReach Alliance, Inc. (CORA) with the sole mission of providing emergency food to those in need throughout Chatham County. We remain exclusively focused on that founding mission. We are a 501(c)(3) designated organization.
Our long-standing approach is to provide emergency food to individuals and families who are thrust into a crisis because of job loss, illness, loss of domicile, loss of breadwinner or other hardship. (read more . . . )
CORA accomplishes its goals with two full-time staff, an Executive Director and Pantry Manager, and two part-time staff, a data manager/donor relations assistant and the project coordinator for the SNACK! Program. CORA is governed by a very active volunteer board of ten community members. All other functions are performed by volunteers. For a list of Staff and Board members, including contact information, click here.
The early years . . . CORA Food Pantry was founded in 1989 as the Chatham Outreach Alliance by a small group of Chatham County churches. In 1990, its first full year of operation, CORA served 253 families. After a decade of continued growth, by 2000 CORA was serving 480 families a year. By 2007 the demand for CORA’s services had increased by 500% to 2,400 families; and in 2009 the demand for emergency food increased yet again to more than 3,500 families.
CORA is affiliated with the Durham Branch of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, a relationship that was formed in 1994. Also in this time period, CORA successfully lobbied for the delivery of food from TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) directly to CORA and several other Chatham food pantries free of charge. TEFAP is a USDA commodity program that helps supplement the diets of low-income needy persons, including the elderly, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance.