By Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
Always held the Friday before Mother’s Day, Mama’s Kitchen celebrated its 28th Mama’s Day tasting event at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine on May 10. With the best that San Diego has to offer, 60 local restaurants, hotels, catering companies and executive chefs joined in raising funds for the daily operations of Mama’s Kitchen, including the purchase of a new refrigerating unit needed in its expanded operations.
Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien, a long-time supporter returned as this year’s culinary host with a pre-party exclusive and an entertaining cocktail contest. Between silent auctions, opportunity drawings, there were many ways that the crowd of 625 could support Mama’s Kitchen in a fun and delicious atmosphere.
Alberto Cortés, executive director, Mama’s Kitchen said that Mama’s Day is its annual celebration of all the people that make Mama’s Kitchen what it is today.
“Many of you know who we are and many of you may know who we were,” Cortés said. “We have evolved to include more people in our mission, and we are able to do that with support from people like you. At Mama’s Kitchen we believe that everyone is entitled to the basic necessities of life, nutritious food.’
Cortés said that the community driven organization addresses the nutritional needs of people that are affected by critical illnesses like cancer, HIV, heart disease and diabetes. It is able to accomplish this through an array of services with the core is home delivery of meals, but that Mama’s is not limited to that. It also has pantry services where it provides emergency food assistance, medical nutrition therapy, nutrition education classes.
“We look to address nutrition needs of sick people in the most comprehensive way possible,” Cortés said. “All of the services that we provide are at no cost to the people that receive them. We have two strong components. A volunteer core that is absolutely amazing. I am thrilled to say that we have more than 900 people that are committed to the mission of Mama’s Kitchen in a multitude of ways that include making food in our kitchen, working in our staging areas, staffing our pantry, delivering food in their own car at their own expense throughout San Diego County. “Last year our volunteers drove over 120,000 miles to make sure that every person that we serve gets their food on every delivery day,” Cortés continued. “The other aspect that makes our organization work is the involvement of the folks that have the capacity of contributing dollars. Everybody has that capacity. A dollar is meaningful, $100,000 is meaningful and everything in between is meaningful.”
Mama’s Day raised $160,000 to deliver three medically-tailored nutritional meals a day, seven days a week, free of charge to local women, men and children vulnerable to hunger.
— Mama’s Kitchen was founded in 1990 when volunteers from the AIDS Assistance Fund discovered that many of their clients were becoming too ill to take care of themselves. They realized that a reliable home meal delivery service was needed to ensure that these individuals would continue to receive nutritious, life-sustaining food. In 2004, Mama’s Pantry was opened to provide individuals with HIV who are able to prepare meals the opportunity to supplement their nutritional needs. Over the past 28 years, Mama’s Kitchen served over eight million meals. Mama’s Kitchen currently provides delivered meals, pantry services and nutrition education services to more than 1,200 men, women and children in San Diego County annually. Learn more and make a donation at mamaskitchen.org.
— Albert Fulcher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.