Blazer Kitchen to celebrate first year with a food drive March 9

blazer kitchen anniv stream"As the Blazer Kitchen has grown over the past year, we're extremely proud of how the UAB community has come together to support fellow Blazers," said Lisa Higgenbotham, manager of the Benevolent Fund.Since the Blazer Kitchen opened one year ago, the on-campus food bank for employees and students has been busy distributing fresh and non-perishable foods — and a food drive 8 a.m.-4 p.m. March 9 in Medical Towers Suite 100 will help ensure that continues.

Hunger is an issue that affects people from all walks of life for many reasons, and the numbers show the new Blazer Kitchen is helping to curb it on campus and in the community.


A banner year

Since its opening last year, the Blazer Kitchen has made a significant impact on the campus community:

  • Some 1,035 members of the UAB community — including 243 employees, 152 students and their immediate families — have been able to access free food and some toiletries.

  • A total of 50,474 pounds of fresh produce, meat,
    cheese, eggs, canned goods and packaged food
    has been distributed.

  • That provided an average of 40 meals per person to those who wrestle with food insecurity on UAB’s campus.

  • Since January 2017, Blazer Kitchen has served 3,553 meals to mothers of UAB Hospital’s littlest patients in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

  • Around 125 seniors have received a bag with enough food for 10 meals donated through the kitchen’s partnership with UAB Medicine on Reducing Senior Hunger, a nationally funded initiative of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama. CFB received the 2018 Community Impact Grant to help reduce hunger among patients seen in select UAB clinics.

  • Eleven faculty have engaged students in their classes in service-learning at Blazer Kitchen, and more than 280 students, faculty and staff have volunteered more than 1,200 hours to stock and distribute food.

“As the Blazer Kitchen has grown during the past year, we’re extremely proud of how the UAB community has come together to support fellow Blazers,” said Benevolent Fund Manager Lisa Higginbotham. “We continue to hope that any member of our UAB family that is hungry will feel comfortable accessing Blazer Kitchen.”

Pitch in

Want to volunteer during your lunch break to help unpack and sort food? Email benevolentfund@uab.edu.

Have a class or students who want to participate? Email servicelearn@uab.edu

Give directly to the Blazer Kitchen (#680) with your Benevolent Fund Pledge.

Volunteers are needed to assist with shopping and stocking items. Employees and groups interested in volunteering can sign up online. Class and student groups should contact the Office of Service Learning and Undergraduate Research. Volunteers interested in helping behind the scenes with logistics and reporting should email benevolentfund@uab.edu. Blazer Kitchen collaborates with the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama to access low-cost food from the USDA and food donated through grocery stores, which is available only to Feeding America programs.

Blazer Kitchen accepts direct product contributions throughout the year. The most needed donations include healthy, shelf-stable, single-serving, microwavable meals, plus toiletries and household cleaning products. Check the Blazer Kitchen website for information on dropping off donations; email blazerkitchen@uab.edu to make arrangements.

You can make a monthly pledge or one-time donation to Blazer Kitchen or review all available charitable-giving options at uab.edu/benevolentfundpledge during the Benevolent Fund’s annual campaign. The campaign is active for the academic campus through March 15; the campaign within UAB Medicine will be conducted April 1-30.