Mama’s Kitchen Launches Largest Bake Sale in San Diego History

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Non-profit organization to raise $100,000 as a result of shrinking government funding; Mama’s Pie In The Sky begins Oct. 18, ends Nov. 15

The Mama’s Pie In The Sky bake sale is now in it’s second year, and is the largest, organized bake sale of its kind in San Diego (and possibly the West Coast). San Diego’s top bakers, caterers and chefs that include the Sycuan Resort and Casino and The French Gourmet, generously donate delectable holiday pies. These apple, pecan and pumpkin pies are sure to warm the hearts and tables of thousands throughout San Diego County neighborhoods this Thanksgiving. Pies are $20 each, and can be purchased online at http://www.mamaskitchen.org.

Every pie sold pays for almost half of each client’s weekly meals – meals they might not have had without Mama’s Kitchen and the support of the community. This year, Mama's Kitchen hopes to sell 5,000 pies and raise $100,000 to directly fund thousands of free, hot nutritious meals and help ensure that no one living with HIV/AIDS or other critical illnesses in the community will go hungry. Clients live in all regions of San Diego County: north to Oceanside, east to Ramona, south to Otay Mesa and Chula Vista as well as central San Diego and the beach communities. Mama's Kitchen has never turned away anyone in need of help and the net proceeds of this year’s Mama’s Pie In The Sky program, sponsored by Wells Fargo, Sycuan Resort and Casino, and JACK 100.7 FM (KFMB), will enable her to keep her promise.

Individuals and business volunteers from throughout San Diego County will pre-sell the pies from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15. Pie buyers can select from more than 30 sites, including selected Wells Fargo Bank locations, throughout San Diego County to pick up their pies on Wed., Nov. 22, the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. Pies can also be purchased online at Mama's Kitchen's Web site.

Mission expansion creates new opportunity, challenges.

In February 2006, the Board of Directors officially expanded the organization’s mission to deliver meals to San Diego County residents with critical illnesses under the age of 60 years. The Critical Illness Nutrition Program provides vital nutrition for people struggling with cancer, diabetes, amputations, blindness, ALS, schizophrenia, strokes, spinal cord injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“These new clients need Mama’s Kitchen just as much as our AIDS clients, and our broadened mission means that we serve all of San Diego County, not just those with a particular illness,” says Alberto Cortes, executive director, Mama’s Kitchen. Providing vital nutritional services to clients who are critically ill could reduce medical costs with a value in millions of dollars, in San Diego County alone. Approximately 10% of all clients participate in the Critical Illness Nutrition Program, while 90% of clients are affected by AIDS/HIV.

Mama’s Kitchen is not a “soup kitchen” for people with AIDS or other critical illnesses. “We are a vital component of a patient’s overall healthcare plan and our meals serve as critical nutritional assistance for people at risk of life-threatening weight loss and malnutrition,” says Cortes. A Registered Dietician supervises the meal planning to provide a high-calorie, nutrient-rich diet to supplement the numerous medications taken by most people with AIDS or critical illnesses, many of which are toxic when taken on an empty stomach. With a proper diet, medications work wonders and a person’s quality of life is enhanced and their life-span is increased. Clients are referred to Mama’s Kitchen services by a social services caseworker.

While the mission expansion provides new opportunity for the organization and a solution to thousands in need, Cortes and the Board of Directors are very concerned about funding resources for their core group of clients: men, women, and children affected by AIDS/HIV. Mama’s Kitchen is experiencing a reduction in funding from Ryan White AIDS funding from the federal government to support the organization’s nutritional and meal delivery services. It’s a problem affecting numerous organizations like Mama’s Kitchen throughout the United States. In recent years, Ryan White AIDS funding was 30% of the organization’s annual budget. Now, it is 17%. Funding from local government has also decreased, and currently makes up only 1% of the entire operating budget. The Mama’s Pie in the Sky program hopes to replace this shortfall in funding.

About Mama's Kitchen

Mama's Kitchen was founded in 1990 when volunteers from the AIDS Assistance Fund, a food bank for people with AIDS, 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 food. Today, Mama's Kitchen prepares and delivers three meals a day for every day of the week to about 300 men, women, and children affected by AIDS or other critical illnesses in San Diego County. Mama’s Kitchen is located at 1875 Second Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101. For more information, visit the Mama's Kitchen's Web site.

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Denise Scatena

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