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Bessemer is southwest of Birmingham, in Jefferson County, with a population of 23,000. It was once a booming community, supporting the area’s iron and steel making industries. When Birmingham’s steel industry closed in the 70s, Bessemer saw a dramatic rise in unemployment rates and increased crime. While there are pockets of promise in Bessemer, many of the areas are blighted and residents are experiencing the burdens of the social determinants of health.

The Bessemer Coalition was established in June, 2018 with 32 members representing residents and community stakeholders. Members prioritized important issues such as Access to Healthy Foods, Childhood Obesity Prevention, and Increased Services for Seniors. The first initiative addressed healthy living for children. Healthy Happy Kids was conducted with 89 children in the afterschool program at the local YMCA in October, 2018. The Coalition also produced the Bessemer Healthy Jam, a city-wide health fair on February 23, 2019 at the Bessemer Recreation Center. In addition to health screenings, demonstrations, and fun activities to children.