Friday, March 9, 2012
Since 1990, Mama’s Kitchen has served free meals to thousands of people battling HIV/AIDS and cancer.
Today, the organization located in downtown San Diego delivered its 6 millionth meal.
Volunteers prepare, package and deliver free meals daily to about 350 people each week.
Executive Director Alberto Cortes said the organization depends on the efforts of about 800 community volunteers.
Last year, volunteers prepared nearly 350,000 meals. They also traveled more than 30,000 miles and spent 30,000 hours delivering and packaging food countywide, Cortes said.
Cortes said volunteers also provide emotional support.
“When they’re having food delivered by a volunteer because many of our clients are homebound, the volunteer who delivers the food may often be the only person they have contact with during the course of their day,” Cortes said. “So there is even an emotional or human component to this."
Some of the individuals are too incapacitated to get out and buy groceries.
Cortes said the recipient of the 6 millionth meal was an individual who has been helped by the organization for more than a decade and cannot walk.
Cortes said the meals are high in protein and calories -- essential to those fighting AIDS and cancer.
The regular meals also help in absorbing medication properly, he said.
Although there are some people who stay in the Mama's Kitchen program for years, others only need help temporarily.
In addition to volunteers' efforts, Cortes said Mama's Kitchen relies upon contributions from businesses and individuals, and government funding.