June 14, 2022

Lund donates reception funds to Blazer Kitchen; encourages others to follow

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Lund ResizedFrances Lund, Ph.D.Making a lasting impact is possible with a willingness to step outside the box and care for the community. Frances Lund, Ph.D., founding director of the Immunology Institute and professor in the Department of Microbiology, is donating her transition party funds to the Blazer Kitchen.

Lund has stepped down from the position of chair of the department to completely invest herself in a passion project: the UAB Immunology Institute. The institute was established in 2021 and is one of a few enterprises in the nation that serve as a central focal point for coordinating immunologic research.

Immunology research, by its very nature, is spread across disciplines such as microbiology, cell biology, transplantation, pediatric and adult medicine, oncology, pathology, and many more. The institute has become a point of contact for those interested in immunology education and outreach—both on the UAB campus and within the community and state. Furthermore, it is aimed at bringing researchers across disciplines together for greater collaboration—a distinguishing attribute of UAB.

Celebrating by giving back

Typically, dean’s office leadership offers a reception to those stepping down from chair. Lund opted for something different.

While the idea of having a party seemed nice, she found an alternative way to celebrate the change: by giving back. “I wanted to do something that might have a more lasting impact than an afternoon reception,” Lund said.

The Heersink School of Medicine diverted the reception funds to the Benevolent Fund instead. The Blazer Kitchen, specifically, was Lund’s choice.

“I am thankful to our school for making this possible and for agreeing to use this as an opportunity to highlight how we can give back to the community that supports our work,” Lund said.

Once the funds were diverted, Lund and her husband, Troy D. Randall, Ph.D., The Meyer Foundation William J. Koopman Endowed Chair Professor in Immunology, offered to match the school’s contribution.

These gifts will allow the kitchen to continue its support to ongoing Blazer Kitchen shoppers, as well as the 400+ new students, patients, and employee shoppers who have begun utilizing Blazer Kitchen since January 2022. The gift will help fulfill the kitchen’s expanding needs.

“We are thrilled that this gift offers us the opportunity to continue expanding services,” UAB Benevolent Fund Manager Lisa Higginbotham said.

Why Blazer Kitchen?

Resized Blazer KitchenBlazer Kitchen Shopping AreaConsidering rising inflation and rising food and energy prices, Lund empathized with the food insecurity that several UAB students, patients, and staff are going through.

“The party, funded by our school, would have provided food and drink to members of our community who are not experiencing food insecurity,” Lund said. “So, I thought it would be nice to divert the food funds from those who have food to those who utilize Blazer Kitchen to provide food for themselves and their families.”

Part of Lund’s motivation with the gift is to increase awareness about food insecurity in our work community.

“I think we tend to assume that if someone has a job or is in school, they are ‘ok’,” she said. “However, a job does not guarantee enough money to cover all expenses, and no one should have to choose between feeding their family and paying their rent or electric bill. Unfortunately, many members of our community have to make those choices daily.”

Additionally, she hopes that the privileged members of our community who have plenty will consider donating time and funds to support our community. “To put thought into action, my husband and I matched the Heersink School of Medicine donation to the Blazer Kitchen,” she said.

Third, her goal with sharing her story is to encourage others and consider donating as well.

Lund’s message: Find a way to give back

The Heersink School of Medicine supports Lund’s benevolence and has established a fund in her name. Inspired readers can donate today at https://go.uab.edu/drlundmatch.

While Lund encourages donations to the Blazer Kitchen, she also encourages giving back to the community in general. 

“If not to Blazer Kitchen, then consider donating to some other charitable cause that will help support our community,” she said. 

She shares the example of the UAB Benevolent Fund that directly supports UAB employees in need through the Emergency Employee Assistance Program. 

Employees can also make recurring contributions through the UAB's Benevolent Fund to support the non-profits of their choice in our community. Sign up today at: https://www.uab.edu/benfund/faq/payroll-deduction.

“I encourage everyone to visit this website and think about what they can do to give back to our community,” Lund said.