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San Diego's Tree of Life vigil to be held on World AIDS Day

SAN DIEGO -- Mama’s Kitchen and Village Hillcrest will host the 22nd annual Tree of Life tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 1 from 5-7 pm.

The ceremony, which is considered San Diego County’s premier events to commemorate World AIDS Day, honors those affected by AIDS and recognizes the ongoing leadership efforts made to end the worldwide epidemic. The event is free and open to the public.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2013 is “Getting to Zero,” which is backed by the United Nations and focuses on zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. World AIDS Day reminds people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.

At the Tree of Life event, a candlelight vigil will be held to commemorate those we've lost to AIDS. TV personality and reporter Perette Godwin will be the emcee. Attendees will enjoy holiday tunes from the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus and complimentary refreshments provided by Snooze. More than 200 people are expected to attend.

“The Tree of Life Ceremony is an annual event that helps us remember those who are no longer with us because of AIDS,” said Alberto Cortés, executive director, Mama’s Kitchen. “It’s also a way for us to gather and support those who are battling this horrible disease and dealing with the daily challenges it presents.”

The trees are decorated with ornaments that honor those who have been affected by HIV/AIDS and will remain on display throughout the holiday season at Village Hillcrest. Ornaments can be purchased online prior to the event or that evening and personalized with a message. The cost is $15 each or two for $25.

All proceeds from the Tree of Life Ceremony benefit Mama’s Kitchen, San Diego’s only free countywide meal delivery service for men, women and children affected by AIDS or cancer.

Community sponsors are needed to support this event. For more information about Tree of Life or to participate in holiday giving opportunities, please call Aimee Halfpenny at (619) 233-6262 or click HERE.

Village Hillcrest is located at 3965 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest.

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 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 HERE.