Volunteer Frieda Hackney works in the breads and cookies area at the West Chatham Food Pantry of Siler City on Friday. Kim Hawks / Carolina Public Press

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Welcome to The Kicker from Carolina Public Press, a North Carolina news show bringing you conversations with journalists, sources and newsmakers from across the state.

In this episode, Carolina Public Press contributing writer Keith Barber talks about food insecurity and hunger in Chatham County, located in the Piedmont at the state’s geographical center.

As CPP continues its yearlong series on the Faces of Hunger, Barber spent time observing and talking with staff, volunteers and clients at food-relief agencies in Chatham County.

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Chatham is a predominantly rural county with two small urban centers, Siler City in the west and Pittsboro in the east, which is the center of county government. Agencies in both parts of the county described growing demand for food aid, despite a supposedly solid economy. After the recession wiped out jobs in the area a decade ago, many families have continued to struggle to get by on lower or part-time wages.

The two primary agencies battling hunger are Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA) in Pittsboro and the West Chatham Food Pantry in Siler City.

Some families took in relatives who needed help, only to find themselves strained beyond their means. A medical setback or layoff can push households living paycheck to paycheck over the edge. Local nonprofits in Chatham County say they’ve seen these problems grow dramatically over the last three years.

Agencies say that this increasing need is challenging their ability to answer the growing need. However, these nonprofit relief organizations are hopeful that combining resources may help them to address the need.

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They’ve also expressed hope that the series from CPP and its Oct. 25 forum in Pittsboro will bring people together for a conversation about these issues.


About The Kicker

The Kicker is a production of Carolina Public Press. It also airs weekly at 7 p.m. Wednesdays on WPVM radio 103.7 FM in Asheville. Send an email to thekicker@carolinapublicpress.org if you would like to contact the staff of Carolina Public Press about The Kicker.

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This release, story or event was developed through multiple sources and/or is from the staff of Carolina Public Press.

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