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Blazers Against Hunger: how Blazer Kitchen provides food and compassion

  • November 15, 2021
Blazers Against Hunger is UAB’s one-day giving event to fight food insecurity on campus and help employees in need with funds directly supporting Blazer Kitchen and its mission.
Written by: Rick Lewis
Media contact: Savannah Koplon

Photography: Andrea Mabry

In 2015, Tamika Bright had been working at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for only a week before a tragic incident changed her life. In an attempt to put out an accidental grease fire at her home, Bright received third-degree burns to the right side of her body, leaving her badly injured.

Tamika Bright 1Tamika Bright's first-hand experiences with Blazer Kitchen are her motivation for encouraging others to support Blazers Against Hunger. Photography: Steve WoodWhile her job as an administrative support specialist in the Department of Environmental Health and Safety was secure during the medical leave she had to take to heal, the injury put Bright in a difficult financial position.

At the recommendation of her manager, she applied to receive support from UAB’s Employee Emergency Assistance Program, a Benevolent Fund program aimed at helping employees with unforeseen medical costs with funds donated by other UAB employees. The financial support she received from the EEAP alleviated a great deal of the stress on her and her family throughout her injury and recovery and inspired a desire to give back.

“I was thinking to myself, if I could give [the Benevolent Fund] a million dollars, I would. It was just amazing,” Bright said. “They helped with bills, and funds were just deposited into my account.”

From then on, Bright became a steadfast donor to the Benevolent Fund, always willing to give to make sure others had similar care when in need. She did not know, however, how soon she would need the Benevolent Fund’s help again.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, Blazer Kitchen will be hosting its annual Blazers Against Hunger initiative. Held to support the work of UAB’s Blazer Kitchen, this one-day giving event ensures that Blazer Kitchen can meet the needs of the UAB community.

Blazer Kitchen: providing food, supplies and support

In 2020, Bright found herself in a challenging situation once more after the passing of her husband. Unable to adequately provide food for herself and her teenage son, she returned for support from the Benevolent Fund, but this time from Blazer Kitchen.

One of the most intimately impactful programs run by the Benevolent Fund, Blazer Kitchen’s on-campus food pantry serves food-insecure students, employees and patients in nine UAB Medicine clinics by providing a space for people to collect fresh, frozen and non-perishable food items, as well as personal care items like toiletries — all at no cost.

BAH 21“There were times when I had to choose between gas and eating,” Bright explained. “As moms, we look out for our kids, and I didn’t want my son to go hungry.”

In accessing resources from Blazer Kitchen, she was able to ensure that she and her son had enough healthy food on their table, especially fresh fruit — her son’s favorite.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, Blazer Kitchen will be hosting its annual Blazers Against Hunger one-day giving event. Held each year to support the work of Blazer Kitchen, Blazers Against Hunger ensures that Blazer Kitchen can continue to meet the needs of the growing UAB community. 

“Having a resource at UAB where both nourishment and the compassion offered is a life-changing option for many,” said Benevolent Fund manager Lisa Higginbotham. “But it is even more powerful knowing that the support Blazer Kitchen provides is funded by donations from the UAB community.”

“Give because you never know who you are helping or saving.” – Tamika Bright. Help support Blazer Kitchen by donating to UAB’s one-day giving event Blazers Against Hunger on Nov. 18. Find more information and give at

Beyond the Blazers Against Hunger one-day giving event, Blazer Kitchen is always accepting help to further its mission of reaching all Blazers struggling with hunger. For recipients like Bright who have and continue to depend on Blazer Kitchen’s resources, any amount of support and/or donation makes the difference.

“We could have easily been in the hunger pile, but we weren’t — Blazer Kitchen saved me. It saved my family,” Bright said. “You never know what people are going through, and I’ve always been a person to smile through my pain. So, when you think you’re not helping someone, you really are. Any amount of support goes a long way.”

Learn more or make a gift at