Last week in Chapel Hill, North Carolina graduate senior Armando Bacot, a member of the Tar Heels’ men’s basketball team, partnered with the Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA), Food Lion, Frosted Flakes and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern N.C. to put on an event to raise awareness about food security.
Bacot spent most of the day signing autographs with fans before he was brought up along with Tony the Tiger, the Frosted Flakes mascot, to present a $10,000 check to Brogden Middle in Durham to help build their athletic programs.
Bacot told reporters after the event that it felt great to give back to the community and the area he has called home since coming to Chapel Hill as a freshman way back in 2018.
“I think what I mean to the state of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina, the Town of Chapel Hill and the Triangle was bigger than me,” Bacot said when asked why he’s planning on coming back to UNC next season. “I feel like coming back was definitely huge. It’s one of those situations where the people needed me, and I needed them, too.”
Bacot has partnered with many non-profits like CORA since he was first allowed to sign Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deals back in 2021. He used his first sponsorship from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood to raise over $60,000 for local charities in the Baltimore area, according to Inside Carolina.
Last summer, Bacot became the spokesman for the Me Fine Foundation, a non-profit located in Durham that provides emergency support to families with children in medical crisis.
In four seasons at UNC, Bacot has averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds over 132 career games. During the 2022-23 season, Bacot became the leading rebounds in Tar Heel history, surpassing Tyler Hansbrough. He also became the first player in history to record a double-double six times in a single NCAA Tournament when he did so in 2022.
Bacot helped the Tar Heels reach the national championship game in 2022, but UNC completely missed out this past year’s tournament, something he surely wants to rectify this upcoming year.
CORA, which began its services back in 1989, has distributed more than 1 million meals to families across Chatham County, according to its website. The organization aims to “build a community without hunger by collecting and purchasing healthy food for distribution though our food pantry, related programs and network of local partners.”
In their 2022 annual report, CORA reported that 268 volunteers gave over 9,242 hours of service, while $3.1 million and 755,721 pounds of food were donated in total. In that same report, CORA laid out a few priorities for the future, namely expanding geographically, offering more programs and services and diversifying the organization’s leadership.
According to a report by the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina in 2021-22, 7820 Chatham County residents, around 11%, were food insecure, meaning they lacked stable financial resources for food to live a healthy lifestyle.