Today we had our very first live “State of the Kitchen” Address with our CEO, Alberto Cortés and Director of Development, Jenna Novotny, to share some of our current successes, the challenges we are preparing for, and also take 30-minutes to answer our viewer’s questions. Click below to watch a recording of it.
Since the announcement of COVID-19, Mama’s Kitchen’s board, staff, and volunteers have been working around the clock to continue providing meals to our community members who are critically ill. More than 255 new clients have joined our program since the crisis began (a 43% increase). The past six weeks have seen record-breaking numbers of meals with each delivery day. And in addition to our regular meal deliveries, we delivered more than 18,900 lbs. of nonperishable food, providing a one-week emergency supply to each client. None of these efforts would be possible without the support of our volunteers, partners and donors like you.
In early March, we announced the postponement of Mama’s Day, one of our most iconic fundraising events of the year, with the hopes of celebrating at a later date. Since 1991, Mama’s Day has been supported by dozens of San Diego’s best restaurants and chefs, attended by hundreds of local supporters, and touted as “the” foodie event of the year.
However, with the uncertainty around the pandemic and the challenges it continues to bring, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mama’s Day event. This is one of the hardest decisions we’ve made as an organization, especially during our 30th Anniversary, but we know it’s the right one.
Mama’s Kitchen is so fortunate to have the support of the local hospitality industry, who donate much of the resources for this event. We also recognize the affect this crisis has had on these chefs, restaurants, caterers and farmers that have supported Mama’s Day for so many years.
Unfortunately, canceling Mama’s Day leaves a gap in our fundraising revenue. In celebrating our 30th Anniversary, we anticipated this year’s event to bring in close to $200,000 in support of our programs. Additionally, the growth in clients and meals being served in response to the crisis have resulted in increased operation expenses.
We may not be able to bring you great food for Mama’s Day, but we still want to help you enjoy some. Follow us on social media for some surprise guest posts, cooking demos and easy recipes to spice up your stay-at-home Mama‘s Day celebration. Stay tuned!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Mama’s Day will be back! Save the date for 2021 as we look forward to the best one yet. Friday, May 7th, 2021.
I hope this message finds you healthy and well as we navigate these challenging times. As a valued supporter of Mama’s Kitchen, I want to share with you how our organization is responding to the current COVID-19 public health crisis. During these uncertain times, our nutrition services are as crucial as ever due to the fact that all of Mama’s Kitchen’s clients suffer from critical illness, whether HIV, cancer, diabetes or heart disease, and many are over the age of 65, making them particularly vulnerable to some of the most devastating effects of COVID-19.
Mama’s Kitchen will remain operating, and our dedicated team has been working around the clock to ensure our most vulnerable community members, and their children, receive the meals and nutrition services they need to remain home and safe. While our goals remain unchanged – to deliver vital nutrition to critically ill San Diegans – we have expanded our operations and efforts to respond to the immediate needs of our clients, and significant increase in demand, while implementing new procedures to protect our clients, volunteers and staff.
1. Increased Demand – As a result of the crisis, we have experienced a significant increase in demand for our Home-Delivered Meal Service. We continue accepting new referrals for critically ill clients (and their dependent children), to ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors receive the nutrition they need, while remaining safe at home. Just this past Tuesday, March 31st, we hit a new organizational record delivering 4,500 meals to 500 clients in one day, through a new “no contact” delivery process; and we expect to hit another new record with tomorrow’s delivery going to more than 546 clients. This is already a 25% increase from just a few weeks ago, and we project our numbers of clients and meals served to increase by at least 35% over the next two months due to the crisis.
2. Pantry service – On Friday, March 20th, we temporarily closed our on-site Pantry, which provides no-cost groceries for low-income HIV+ individuals who are healthy enough to shop and cook but are unable to purchase nutritious food due to extremely low income. To protect the health of our Mama’s Pantry clients, we are allowing them to temporarily enroll in our Home-Delivered Meal Service so they can receive the nutrition they need, without leaving home.
3. Emergency Food Bags – We have purchased additional supplies to provide a one-week supply of shelf-stable food to all 550 clients and dependent children, in addition to our regular meal deliveries. By delivering a week’s worth of shelf-stable food, we guarantee that our clients have the food they need in the event that we are forced to pause or slow operations. We also hope that this will bring clients peace of mind during a time of heightened anxiety. This service, as with all our services, is provided at no charge to clients.
4. County Emergency Response Plan – As we have done during past public health emergencies, our team is currently collaborating with the County of San Diego as part of their emergency response plan. The County has called on us to provide our expertise and resources to assist those most at risk of hunger during the crisis.
5. Volunteers and Staffing – While volunteers perform many of our critical tasks, we have shifted to operating with exceptionally few volunteers and increased staff hours. This is a result of both proactively restricting the number of people in our Kitchen, while also having less volunteers available. The majority of our volunteers are over 65 and therefore, we have advised them to stay home for their safety. While we are actively recruiting temporary volunteers, our staff and a small group of volunteers have been working around the clock to ensure every meal is delivered.
Mama’s Kitchen will continue to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and meet the needs of our critically ill community members. Thank you for your support and for making these efforts possible. We couldn’t do this work without you. I look forward to keeping you informed of our work throughout these extraordinary circumstances. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions about our efforts, I would be happy to share photos and testimonials as well.
Thank you again for your support. Please stay healthy and safe.
Chief Executive Officer
March 20, 2020
Dear supporters, volunteers, and friends of Mama’s Kitchen,
I want to provide an update on our work in light of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement implementing a “shelter in place” order for California, beginning Thursday, March 19.
Mama’s Kitchen is recognized as an “essential business” and is part of the County’s emergency response efforts. With this designation, we can, and will, continue to operate and deliver meals with additional safety procedures. This designation also allows volunteers to continue working with us during this time.
Delivering Mama’s Kitchen’s mission is critical now more than ever. Our dedicated team will be working around the clock to ensure our most vulnerable community members receive the meals and nutrition services they need to remain home and safe.
We will be operating with exceptionally lean volunteers to achieve our mission, while doing our part to ensure safety and minimize the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Additional information about volunteering is available here. Effective immediately, our on-site Pantry (available for low-income HIV+ individuals) will be closed, and pantry clients will be offered to temporarily enroll in our Home Delivered Meal Service program to provide for their safety and well-being.
Please know we could not do this without you. We are so grateful for the support of our community. If you are able to support our emergency response efforts with a gift of any amount, it makes an incredible difference towards our increased expenses.
Thank you for your support and being part of our family. Please stay safe and healthy.
Chief Executive Officer
March 13, 2020
Mama’s Kitchen’s Call to Action in Response to COVID-19
Mama’s Kitchen remains open during the COVID-19 crisis, and our services are as critical as ever during this public health emergency. Therefore, we are seeking help from the community. We have an emergent need for volunteers and support as we increase our stock of supplies and continue to accept new critically ill clients at risk.
If you are healthy, not on the list of vulnerable populations, and able to volunteer we need you! If you can support our increased expense for healthy shelf stable food, we appreciate a gift in any amount.
We are currently increasing our inventory of shelf stable food to maintain two weeks of back up for all clients. We have also implemented additional safety procedures following public health department recommendations and working with the County of San Diego to ensure the well-being of our clients, volunteers, and staff.
It is imperative that our clients continue to get home-delivered nutrition. Please consider supporting this critical work.
A Message from our CEO March 20, 2020
Dear Supporters, volunteers, and friends of Mama’s Kitchen,
I want to provide an update on our work in light of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent…
A Message from our CEO March 13, 2020
Dear Supporters, volunteers, and friends of Mama’s Kitchen,
First of all, I want to thank you for your dedication and support of our mission. We know COVID-19 is… Continue reading
Our commitment during COVID-19 March 11, 2020 Mama’s Kitchen is closely…