In 2015, Tamika Bright had worked at University of Alabama at Birmingham for just a week before a tragic incident changed his life. In an attempt to put out an accidental grease fire in her home, Bright received third degree burns to the right side of her body, leaving her seriously injured.
While his work as an administrative support specialist in the Department of Environmental Health and Safety was safe while on medical leave to heal, the injury put Bright in dire financial straits.
On the recommendation of his manager, Bright sought support from the UAB Emergency Employee Assistance Program, a Charitable fund program to help employees with unforeseen medical expenses, with funds donated by other UAB employees. The financial support Bright received from the EEAP relieved much of the stress for Bright and her family as she recovered from her injuries and inspired a desire to give back.
“I was like if I could give (the Charity Fund) a million dollars, I would. It was just amazing, ”said Bright. “They helped me with the bills and the funds were deposited into my account.”
Bright has become a steadfast donor to the Charitable Fund, always ready to give to ensure others receive similar care when needed. She did not know, however, when she would need help from the Charity Fund again.
Blazer Kitchen: providing food, supplies and support
In 2020, Bright found herself in a difficult situation again when she became a widow. Unable to provide adequate food for herself and her teenage son, she returned to seek support from the Charitable Fund, this time from Blazer Kitchen.
The Charitable Fund is making a huge impact through its Kitchen Blazer. This on-campus 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, including personal care items such as toiletries, all at no cost.
“There were times when I had to choose between gas and eating,” Bright explained. “As mothers, we take care of our children and I didn’t want my son to be hungry. “
By accessing Blazer Kitchen’s resources, Bright was able to ensure that she and her son had enough healthy foods on their table, especially fresh fruit – her son’s favorites.
On Thursday, November 18, Blazer Kitchen will host its Blazers Against Hunger one day donation event. Held annually to support the work of Blazer Kitchen, Blazers Against Hunger ensures that Blazer Kitchen can continue to serve the needs of the growing UAB community.
“Having a resource at UAB where both nourishment and compassion offered is a life changing option for many,” said Lisa Higginbotham, Charity Fund Manager. “But it’s even more powerful to know that the support provided by Blazer Kitchen is funded by donations from the UAB community.”
Beyond the Blazers Against Hunger one-day donation event, Blazer Kitchen is always accepting help to continue its mission to reach all Blazers struggling with hunger. For recipients like Bright, who depend and continue to depend on the resources of Blazer Kitchen, any amount of support and / or donation makes a 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 someone who smiles despite my pain. So when you think you’re not helping someone, you really are. what amount of support goes a long way.
To help support Blazer Kitchen, donate through Blazers Against Hunger on November 18. Find more information and overlook uab.edu/blazersagainsthunger.
This story originally appeared on the UAB news website.
(Courtesy of Alabama News Center)