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Mama's Kitchen adds additional drop-off locations for non-perishable items for Mama's Pantry

SAN DIEGO -- Mama's Kitchen has added new locations to drop off non-perishable items needed for Mama's Pantry.

Mama's Pantry, a service of Mama's Kitchen, provides a nutritional shopping opportunity at no cost for men, women and children of San Diego County affected by HIV/AIDS.

Mama's Kitchen launched "Independence from Hunger," an initiative to encourage the public to host food drives during the month of July, to ensure the pantry shelves are full with nutritious non-perishable food items. The new locations throughout San Diego County allow the public to donate items and there is still time left to organize food drives at your home, office or place of business.

"The month of July is a time of celebration of independence, whether it's July 4th and the birth of the United States, LGBT pride festivities, or hosting summer get-togethers with family and friends," said Alberto Cort├ęs, executive director of Mama's Kitchen.

Throughout the month of July, local businesses, schools, places of worship and social clubs are encouraged to host one or more of the iconic red barrels to collect much-needed food for San Diegans in need.

"These donations will help us ensure that we can continue our mission of providing the basic necessity of life - nutritious food - and help our clients experience a consistent dependable source of food and not worry about where their next meal is coming from," he said.

Mama's Kitchen hopes to collect 100 barrels of food for Mama's Pantry during July. Food barrels are personally delivered to your door and picked up when it is full.

Local businesses and organizations are already involved, these include:

* The Range Kitchen & Cocktails will donate 10% to Mama's Kitchen from every order placed Friday, July 15, through Sunday, July 17. Hillcrest's newest restaurant, located at 1263 University Ave. (92103), will also host red barrels and public is also encouraged to donate non-perishable food items from the pantry wish list through July 31.

* Hillcrest and Mission Valley: Drop off non-perishable food donations on Sunday, July 17, for Mama's Pantry at Ralphs Hillcrest from 9 am to 3:30 pm or at Ralphs Mission Valley from 10 am to 3 pm.

* La Jolla: On Thursday, July 28, at 6:30 pm, the La Jolla Playhouse hosts Out & About, an all-inclusive Thursday evening social mixer and performance series for San Diego's LGBT community. Enjoy signature cocktails and delicious appetizers at a happy hour mixer, followed by an evening production of the new musical "Sleeping Beauty Wakes" at 8 pm. Tickets are $63. Use code mama2266 when ordering tickets. A portion of the ticket price will support Mama's Kitchen. Call (858) 550-1010, order online or visit lajollaplayhouse.org for more information. Bring a donation of cereal for the Mama's Pantry food drive to the mixer and receive a special offer for La Jolla Playhouse's next show, "Milk Like Sugar."

* Stop in at EastLake Tavern + Bowl or North County Tavern + Bowl! Donate a perishable food item from Mama's Pantry's wish list and when you purchase an entree you'll receive 50% off your second entree! Through July 31. EastLake Tavern + Bowl is located at 881 Showroom Place, Chula Vista (91914) and North County Tavern + Bowl is located in Westfield North County, 200 East Via Rancho Parkway #201, Escondido (92025).

* Donations can also be dropped off at Mama's Kitchen, located at 1875 Second Ave. (92101) during regular business hours, Monday through Friday between 8 am and 5 pm. Mama's Kitchen accepts donations for Mama's Pantry throughout the year.

Established in 2004, the Mama's Pantry service is designed to meet the needs of clients with HIV/AIDS who can benefit from occasional nutritional support to maintain their health and stretch their food budget. Mama's Pantry serves more than 700 low-income San Diegans every year, with 4,849 visits in 2010. Once a month, clients can visit Mama's Pantry and select their own non-perishable items such as cereals, pastas, and canned goods from a wide inventory.

It is easy to sponsor and host a food drive for Mama's Pantry. To schedule a barrel delivery, contact Bill Patten at bill@mamaskitchen.org or call (619) 233-6262. Mama's Kitchen will also make arrangements to pick up the barrels once the food drive has ended. A wish list of the non-perishable food items that you can customize will also be provided for your group to use for promotion.

Non-perishable food donation recommendations include the following: boxes of cereal, packages of flour, instant oatmeal packets, bottles of cooking oil, jars of peanut butter, jars of jelly, bags of rice, packages of dried beans, spaghetti sauce, boxes of pasta, packets of pasta dinners, canned goods (fruits, soups, vegetables, chili, pasta and beans), macaroni and cheese, tuna fish/salmon, cake mixes and icing, and small boxes of dry milk.