As a younger woman, I was living in San Diego. My job wasn’t challenging, and I wasn’t challenging myself. Let’s just say that after work every day I found myself watching two episodes of Martin before going out to party with friends. Fun? Yes. Rewarding? Not so much. I don’t recall the catalyst, but I began to look for ways to contribute to the community. How I found Mama’s Kitchen? I don’t know, but I sure am I glad I did. I volunteered for 7 years until I moved from San Diego to Burbank.
Mama’s Kitchen was established in 1990 as a San Diego nonprofit organization to offer nutritional support to people with AIDS who were too poor, depressed, or ill to prepare meals for themselves. Highly organized, Mama’s Kitchen has hundreds of volunteers who come to the Kitchen to pick up for their clients three hot meals a day, seven days a week; my route was Wednesday and varied from 8-14 clients. The service to their clients is at no charge whatsoever, sustaining 1200 people a year in San Diego County.
2004 brought a new service for those who were ill, but not home bound: Mama’s Pantry. They offer bags of healthy groceries once a month to people affected by AIDS. Clients come to the Pantry and “shop” for non-perishables of a wide variety.
The Critical Illness Nutrition Program began in 2006, providing home-delivered meals to those with cancer, under 60, who were too ill to prepare their own healthy meals.
In 2009, they extended their services to children with parents who were suffering from AIDS, and were unable to feed their children healthy meals. That year, they served 43,000 meals to 75 children who were also nutritionally in need; the majority of those children were aged 13 or younger.
My experience with Mama’s Kitchen was fun, warm, and rewarding. Even though getting to know our clients wasn’t under the sunniest of circumstances, they shared warm smiles, hugs, and gratitude.
“Since our first day of operations we have never turned away anyone qualified for our services and we are determined that we never will.”
Contact Mama’s Kitchen to find out how to volunteer or donate to their nutritious cause. You can help with deliveries, food prep, pack grocery bags, food drives, or even answer phones. And they can always use a monetary donation.