Created in 1999, this program home-delivers meals to children whose parents are living with AIDS or cancer and are physically and/or mentally unable to prepare their meals. We have recently seen a small increase in children receiving meals because they have cancer. In these special cases, Mama’s Kitchen also delivers meals to one parent and their dependent children to allow families to focus on their critically ill child’s cancer recovery. In 2012, 50,181 nourishing meals were delivered to 97 children severely impacted by AIDS or cancer.
Mama’s Kitchen created this program after realizing many meal recipients would share their meals with their children out of a natural desire to prevent them from going hungry. Thus, parents were not eating 100% of the nutrition they desperately needed, and children received only a portion of the daily nutrition necessary for healthy growth and development.
To reach our target population, we collaborate with case managers and healthcare providers that certify a family’s eligibility, refer them to us, and recertify their eligibility every six months.
This is the sole program in San Diego County that delivers 100% nutrition (breakfast, lunch and dinner for 365 days a year) to children affected by AIDS or cancer, on a county-wide basis, free of charge. We measure the effectiveness of our meal deliveries with an annual survey of all active meal recipients, and parents comment on their child’s nutritional health. The following quote from a mother whose children receive our home-delivered meals illustrates the need to be met by this program:
“I had no idea how much the kids were not eating until you began bringing food for them. It was then I realized they had been going without and saying nothing. When your food came, I was amazed with the amount of food, and even more amazed with how much they ate what we received.”