San Diego – June 26, 2017 – Mama’s Kitchen is pleased to announce a mission expansion to include women, men and children in San Diego who are affected by critical illnesses in addition to HIV and cancer. The organization, which has been around for nearly three decades, currently provides home-delivered meals, pantry services and nutrition education services to over 1,100 men, women and children in San Diego County annually.

The new mission creates a space for growth and will be implemented over time and with the consideration of community needs and resource development. Approved unanimously at the May 24, 2017 board meeting, the new mission now states: “Mama’s Kitchen, a community-driven organization, believes that everyone is entitled to the basic necessity of life — nutritious food. Our nutrition services improve the lives of women, men, and children vulnerable to hunger due to HIV, cancer or other critical illnesses.”

“Since its founding, Mama’s Kitchen has continuously evolved with the aim of responding to the ever-changing needs of the communities we serve,” said Alberto Cortes, executive director, Mama’s Kitchen. “Expanding our mission to include those with other critical illnesses is the next logical step in our growth. The expansion will provide access to medically appropriate meals that improve health outcomes.”

Research has proven providing nutrition to low income people with critical illnesses could have a significant impact on healthcare costs and health outcomes:

  • A 2013 study published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health, showed after delivering three medically tailored meals per day to 65 patients with different chronic illnesses for six months, researchers found the healthcare costs for those patients dropped from $38,937 per month to $28,183 per month, and were 55 percent lower than the healthcare costs of a comparison group. The frequency of hospital admissions and length of hospital stays also declined.
  • The Harvard Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation reported medically tailored meals help lower blood glucose levels, reduce the number of hospitalizations and ER visits, and increase medication adherence among those with diabetes. Harvard’s study also showed providing three meals per day for six months costs less than a single night of hospitalization.

“The board of directors is thrilled to see Mama’s Kitchen enter this new period in its evolution,” said Mike Horn, incoming board president, Mama’s Kitchen. “The opportunity to increase access to nutrition is exciting and we are grateful for the opportunity to improve the well-being of more San Diegans living with health challenges.”

Mama’s Kitchen was established in 1990 by a San Diego caregiver who enlisted volunteers to help prepare and deliver free meals to a few neighbors who were sick with AIDS and unable to get to the grocery store or cook food. Since then, the organization has continuously evolved, responding to the needs of our community:

  • In 2004, Mama’s Kitchen opened a food pantry for low-income HIV positive residents.
  • In 2006, Mama’s Kitchen expanded its mission to include meal delivery to those affected by cancer.
  • In 2013, Mama’s began a nutrition education program to teach HIV positive people the skills to manage their diagnosis through proper nutrition.

During the past 26 years, Mama’s Kitchen has served over eight million meals and has never turned away a client who qualified for services. In fiscal year 2016 (ending June 30, 2016), Mama’s Kitchen delivered 279,351 meals to 460 San Diegans affected by HIV/AIDS, and 68,907 meals to 170 San Diegans affected by cancer, including 45,939 meals to 104 children (dependents) whose parents were affected by HIV/AIDS or cancer.