February 17, 2015  
UAB School of Nursing   

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Community Health Innovation Awards (CHIA) to support The Foundry Clinic's initiative to provide healthy options and nutritional information to children in Lipscomb, Ala., a suburb of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area.

foundryD'Ann Somerall, DNP, FNP-BC, Assistant Professor in the UAB School of Nursing, in conjunction with Nicole Redmond, MD, UAB Assistant Professor at in the Division of Preventive Medicine and Micha Andrews, Assistant Executive Director of The Foundry Ministries, submitted the grant to CHIA in September 2014. The organization awarded funds to select projects that seek to improve health of low-income families in the Birmingham area in a creative and resourceful way.

Somerall said an anonymous donor provided The Foundry with a food truck earlier this year. The Foundry Ministries named it the "Oasis Pantry Food Truck" and intended to use it as a vehicle to distribute fruits and vegetables to children around the Bessemer/Lipscomb area. The CHIA grant enables the organization to hire a part-time driver and purchase food from community food banks for a full year.

Once a week, she said, the driver will distribute fruits and vegetables to children in the Lipscomb area, focusing on school children schools. The food truck will play a jingle and Community Health Nursing students from UAB School of Nursing will dress as vegetables and will perform a skit designed to educate the children about nutrition in a creative and fun way.

"We will also discuss nutritional tips with parents, but the primary focus is on the engaging the kids. We want them to learn about healthy eating and why healthy eating is so important now and as they grow older," Somerall added.

Additionally, once a month The Foundry will hold educational sessions at Christ Community Church in Lipscomb where faculty and students will present recipes that correlate with the vegetables of the day. Those who attend will receive the vegetable to take home as well.

carrot2"With our current funding, we will be able to continue this project for a year," said Somerall. "Our long-term goal is to create some type of sustainable product that will enable us to continue our project for years to come."

The Foundry, a faith-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, also owns a farm in Cullman, Ala. Future plans call for the food truck to replenish its stock with produce grown in raised-bed gardens at the farm, Somerall said. There also are plans to sell food products from the farm around the Birmingham area to establish a source of sustainable income for the truck once the grant ends. Farming is proposed to begin in Spring 2015 and 40 residents from The Foundry's Farm in Cullman are expected to work there.

"I can't imagine a better way for The Foundry's residents to feel connected to the cause than to till the soil, plant the plants, see them grow, and then put the product to good use," said Somerall.

Micah Andrews says he is excited about the potential of this project.

"There is so much opportunity to help a part of town that often doesn't get much attention," said Andrews. "Eventually we are going to change a food desert to an oasis of healthy living."

The Foundry and the UAB School of Nursing have been partners for better health since April 2013. The UAB School of Nursing as operates the UAB School of Nursing Foundry Clinic, made possible through collaborative efforts of The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center, UAB School of Nursing Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships Cynthia Selleck, D.S.N., R.N., and Linda Roussel, D.S.N., R.N., faculty in the School of Nursing. The clinic is staffed Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., by UAB School of Nursing nurse practitioner Melanie Baucom, CRNP, providing primary and urgent care for patients ages 14 and older.