February 28, 2017
Guin Robinson and Tim Parker February 28, 2017

Blazer Kitchen, an on-campus food bank serving University of Alabama at Birmingham employees and students, will have its grand opening Monday, March 6.

Sponsored by the UAB Benevolent Fund and located in UAB Medical Towers, Suite 100, the kitchen will offer fresh and nonperishable foods to those on campus faced with food insecurity. The open house is from 8-10 a.m., and the first food distribution will be from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Donations are accepted and encouraged, and drives for food and household items will be held throughout the year by student groups and on student move-out days.

Blazer Kitchen is partnering with the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama to access low-cost food such as USDA food, food donated through grocery stores and food available only to food banks, says Benevolent Fund Program Manager Lisa Higginbotham.

“The average cost of food per pound on our first order was 33 cents,” Higginbotham said. “Through the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, we are able to acquire USDA food such as a dozen eggs for 19 cents, the cost of getting the food from the producer/processor to our door.”

Students can also access the Student Advocacy, Rights and Conduct’s Student Food and Supply Pantry in the Hill Student Center, Suite 303, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Student groups such as the UAB chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger are working to assist the UAB Benevolent Fund with the kitchen operations. There will be opportunities for students and employees to volunteer: Individuals and employee groups who would like to unpack and sort food can email benevolentfund@uab.edu, and classes or student groups can contact Service Learning, Higginbotham says.

Blazer Kitchen is offered in collaboration with the Office of Service Learning and Undergraduate Research, The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, UAB Office of the Vice President for Financial Affairs and Administration, UAB Medicine, and UAB Student Advocacy, Rights and Conduct.

Last fall, the UAB National Alumni Society and the UAB Student Alumni Society partnered on “Feed the Pig,” a fundraiser to benefit the UAB Student Food and Supply Pantry. The UAB Crowdfunding project nearly doubled its initial fundraising goal of $5,000.

Hours of operation for Blazer Kitchen are Mondays 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Thursdays 3-6 p.m. All UAB employees and students must present a UAB ONE Card or VIVA Health Employee Badge. Anyone planning to visit the pantry can download eligibility forms in English or Spanish. These forms are for food available through USDA; other food will be available for employees and/or students who are food insecure but do not meet USDA requirements. Frequency of participation in the Blazer Kitchen is identified on a monthly basis, based on need and food availability. Frequency guidelines can change at the discretion of the staff.

To support Blazer Kitchen, visit https://crowdfund.uab.edu/project/5813.