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Mama’s Kitchen Announces New Programs to Serve San Diegans with Congestive Heart Failure and Diabetes

As part of the “California Food is Medicine Coalition”, Mama’s Kitchen to provide meals and support to individuals facing serious illnesses, and do not qualify for other free and low-cost meal services

San Diego County CAMama’s Kitchen, a San Diego-based community-driven nonprofit organization, announces new programs to assist San Diegans with congestive heart failure and diabetes. The organization’s mission centers around helping women, men and children in San Diego who are affected by HIV, cancer, and other critical illnesses to provide them with medically-tailored meals to improve their health and wellbeing.

For nearly 30 years, Mama’s Kitchen has been the premier provider to over 1,200 men, women and children annually around the county, providing home meal deliveries, pantry services and nutrition education. The new programs will create space for growth, expanding the organization’s reach throughout San Diego. “Mama’s Kitchen’s efforts are unfailing and continue to evolve with the purpose of moving forward with the ever-changing health needs of the communities we serve,” said Alberto Cortés, executive director, Mama’s Kitchen. “With the addition of these new programs, our organization will be able to make an even bigger impact in our community to reduce hospitalizations and improve overall health care.”

A member of the California Food is Medicine Coalition (CalFIMC), Mama’s Kitchen is one of only six nutrition service nonprofit organizations across the state to take part in this pilot project, including Ceres Community Project, Project Open Hand, Food for Thought, HealthTrust, and Project Angel Food. CalFIMC is part of the national Food is Medicine Coalition (FIMC), and has a collective 140 years of expertise in engaging volunteers and funders to provide meals and support to individuals facing serious illnesses, including many clients who do not qualify for other free and low-cost meal services. CalFIMC is partnering with the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to provide medically tailored meal intervention (MTMI) services to Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid) members under this first-of-its-kind statewide pilot program.

Since starting the program in May 2018, Mama’s Kitchen has served 15 new clients with congestive heart failure, and is the first partner organization in California to have a client graduate through the meal deliveries and site visits program. Socorro Ventura (76), is the first-ever graduate and has since not been re-hospiatlized while partaking in the program.

“With the support, disciplined nutrition guidelines and advice from the registered dietitian that Mama’s Kitchen’s new program provided, I’m glad to say that my mom has not gone back to the hospital,” said Socorro’s daughter, Maria. “Not only is she better at taking medication, but also is able to live more independently. She now avoids salt and chooses healthier food options with lots of fresh vegetables. Our whole family learned to eat better together through this program and my mom is motivated to make the right nutrition decisions to live a healthier, well-balanced life.”

In addition to the heart disease program, Mama’s Kitchen will soon be starting a diabetes nutrition program. According to community health needs assessments, Type II diabetes is recognized as one of the top three health needs. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals is the first to provide a grant for this program and will be teaming up with Mama’s Kitchen to launch the program in December 2018.

During the past 28 years, Mama’s Kitchen has served over eight million meals and has never turned away a client who qualified for services. In fiscal year 2018 (ending June 30, 2018), Mama’s Kitchen delivered 236,175 meals to 364 San Diegans affected by HIV/AIDS, and 82,794 meals to 237 San Diegans affected by cancer, including 37,101 meals to 103 children (dependents) whose parents were affected by HIV/AIDS or cancer.

For more information on Mama’s Kitchen, including how to get involved or options for donating to the organization, visit mamaskitchen.org for details.