As the university's annual Blazers Against Hunger giving event approaches, get a better idea of the role Blazer Kitchen plays in fighting food insecurity on campus

Since it opened its doors in 2017, Blazer Kitchen has been a haven for UAB students and employees facing food insecurity—meaning they sometimes run out of food or can't afford to maintain a quality diet—and 2020 has been no exception. Even in the time of COVID-19, both locations of the university's food pantry have been providing groceries to those in need with social distancing measures in place. 

Blazers Against Hunger, the university's annual online giving event to fight food insecurity on campus, will be held on Thursday, Nov. 19. Here's everything you need to know ahead of time about Blazer Kitchen and how 2020 has impacted its needs.

1. 75 percent of Blazer Kitchen's annual budget will be raised during Blazers Against Hunger.

1. Seventy-five percent of Blazer Kitchen's annual budget will be raised during Blazers Against Hunger. 

While giving to Blazer Kitchen is a good idea any day of the year, it'll be especially important to offer your support on Nov. 19. The food pantry relies heavily on donations from the annual online giving event. Want a head start? Make your gift here.


2. This year, funds will also go toward support of a Blazer Kitchen coordinator.

2. This year, funds will also go toward support of a Blazer Kitchen coordinator.

This person will train volunteers, manage day-to-day operations, order food, track usage, and monitor needs of the UAB community. "Basically, this person will make sure Blazer Kitchen has everything it needs to serve  UAB," says Lisa Higginbotham, manager of UAB’s Benevolent Fund, which established Blazer Kitchen. 


3. There are two Blazer Kitchen locations: one in Medical Towers and one in the Hill Student Center. The student location has seen a big increase in visits in recent months compared to 2019.

3. There are two Blazer Kitchen locations: one in Medical Towers and one in the Hill Student Center. The student location has seen a big increase in visits in recent months compared to 2019.

Food insecurity already existed among UAB students: 36 percent of students surveyed in 2018 by the UAB School of Public Health indicated they sometimes ran out of food or that they weren't maintaining a quality diet. But COVID-19 has increased its prevalence on campus. Learn more here


4. A gift of only $15 can provide someone with enough groceries for two weeks.

4. A gift of only $15 can provide someone with enough groceries for two weeks.

A sample grocery bag worth $15 includes: 

  • 2 boxes of cereal
  • 6 Nutrigrain bars
  • 2 cans of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 2 cans of green peas
  • 8 frozen ears of corn
  • 2.5 pounds of frozen blueberries
  • 10 pounds of chicken quarters
  • 1 pound of butter
  • 5 pounds of cheese
  • 6 applesauce cups
  • 1 can mixed fruit
  • 1 jar peanut butter
  • 1 jar of jelly
  • 2 pounds of spaghetti
  • 2 cans of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pound of rice
  • 1 can of chicken
  • 2 boxes of hamburger helper

5. Making a monetary donation is a better idea than donating canned goods or other food items.

5. Making a monetary donation is a better idea than donating canned goods or other food items.

Why? See number 4 above. You probably couldn't buy all that with $15 at the grocery store, right? But Blazer Kitchen stocks food items from fresh produce to canned and frozen goods, which it secures at a fraction of the retail price, thanks to its partnership with the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama. You can still donate canned goods, but your money will go much further.


6. Donating toiletries and household items, however, is a great idea.

6. Donating toiletries and household items, however, is a great idea.

Blazer Kitchen can’t get the same discounted rate for these as they can for food goods, so items such as toothbrushes, shampoo, dish soap, and feminine hygiene products are needed. Donations are being accepted through appointment only. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


7. Volunteers are always welcome—even in 2020.

7. Volunteers are always welcome—even in 2020.

Volunteers are still needed in the Blazer Kitchen location in Medical Towers, though a smaller number are being used to limit exposure. Volunteers must wear masks and follow other UAB protocol related to COVID-19, including completing Healthchecks. Volunteers can sign up through BlazerPulse


8. Blazer Kitchen has helped a lot of people in need. And they need your support to keep going.

8. Blazer Kitchen has helped a lot of people in need. And they need your support to keep going.

Since March 2017, the food pantry's two locations have provided more than 380,000 meals to 911 students, 782 employees, and patients in 10 UAB Medicine clinics. Do your part to fight food insecurity at UAB by making a gift

 

Blazers Against Hunger is Thursday, Nov. 19. Make a gift to join the fight against food insecurity at UAB.

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