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Mama's Kitchen to host "Independence from Hunger" food drives in July

SAN DIEGO -- Mama’s Kitchen is asking the public to participate in its third annual “Independence from Hunger,” an initiative to encourage individuals, businesses, schools and community groups to host food drives during July 2013 to ensure the pantry shelves are full with nutritious non-perishable food items.

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

Established in 2004, Mama’s Pantry has been serving residents of San Diego County for nine years. The 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. Once a month, clients visit Mama’s Pantry to select their own non-perishable items such as cereals, pastas and canned goods from a wide inventory. About 800 individuals will receive food from Mama’s Pantry this year.

When Mama’s Kitchen moved into a larger facility in City Heights in August 2011, they were able to move Mama’s Pantry from their offsite location in the neighborhood of North Park into their new building. Since then, perishable food items, such as milk, meats and fruit, have been added to the inventory available for clients.

The Independence from Hunger Food Drive campaign will take place July 1-31, and the public’s help is needed to replenish the inventory during the summer months. 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. The goal is to collect 100 barrels of non-perishable food items during the month.

It is easy to sponsor and host a food drive for Mama’s Pantry. July is often a time for friends and family to celebrate with parties and backyard barbecues, and asking guests to bring a few items for Mama’s Pantry can help turn your get-together into a party with a purpose.

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.

For more information about the 2013 Independence from Hunger food drive and to download a toolkit with ideas on how to host a successful food drive, please visit the Events page on the Mama’s Kitchen website.

Mama’s Pantry by the Numbers (as of June 6, 2013)

* Mama’s Pantry serves more than 750 low-income San Diegans every year, with 5,390 visits in 2012.

* The average monthly income a Mama’s Pantry client is $644.

* In 2012, the number of meal equivalents provided by Mama’s Pantry was 102,410.

* During the first five months of 2013, Mama's Kitchen provided the equivalent of 41,778 meals through the Mama's Pantry program. This is a 7.4% increase from 2012.

* There are 111 volunteers who work in Mama’s Pantry each year.

* In one trip to Mama’s Pantry, 19 meals can be prepared.

* Each Mama’s Pantry food barrel holds 50 gallons of food.

About Mama’s Kitchen

Mama’s Kitchen was founded in 1990 when volunteers from the AIDS Assistance Fund realized a reliable home meal delivery service was needed to ensure their clients received nutritious, life-sustaining food. In 2004, Mama’s Pantry was opened to provide individuals with HIV/AIDS who are able to prepare meals the opportunity to supplement their nutritional needs. In 2012, Mama’s Pantry served 774 individuals. Mama’s Kitchen has served more than six million meals since it was founded and has never turned away a client who qualified for services. Our commitment to our clients remains unchanged. Today, the organization has expanded its service to San Diegans affected by either AIDS or cancer. Mama’s Kitchen provides three meals a day, for every day of the year, free of charge, to more than 625 men, women, and children in San Diego County. Learn more and make a donation at www.mamaskitchen.org.