Edit ModuleShow Tags

Inside the Icon: Mama's Kitchen

Celebrating 25 years of providing nutrition to San Diegans battling AIDS and cancer

Photo by Sean Capshaw

Named After Mom

Mama’s Kitchen was established in 1990 by Laurie Leonard, who enlisted volunteers to help prepare and deliver free lunches and dinners from a church basement to San Diegans suffering from AIDS. Having lost her brother to the disease, Laurie chose to honor her mother my naming the agency “Mama’s Kitchen.”

25 Years Later

In the early years, dedicated volunteers often wrote personal checks to cover the cost of food and operations. Today, Mama’s Kitchen provides three meals a day, seven days a week, free of charge. In their 25 years, they’ve never turned away anyone who qualified for their services.

Food is Medicine

When good nutrition deteriorates, recovery from a critical illness is much harder. The food that Mama’s Kitchen provides helps their clients maintain essential weight, strengthen their immune systems, metabolize medications, minimize side effects, and return to independent living whenever possible. 

Food is Love

Each week, volunteers prepare approximately 7,350 meals and personally deliver them throughout San Diego County, providing nutrition and hope to those in need. Tens of thousands of critically ill people have been helped through their services.

They Feed Children, Too

By 1999, volunteers began noticing that many clients were sharing meals with their children to prevent them from going hungry, at the expense of their own nutrition. In response, Mama’s Kitchen created the Children’s Nutritional Health Program, which delivers meals to clients’ dependent children.

No Longer Just An AIDS Organization

In 2006, after recognizing a growing demand in San Diego, Mama’s Kitchen expanded services to include people battling all types of cancer. 

Their Heartbeat

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Mama’s Kitchen, bringing their mission to life. Over the years, 6,400 volunteers have donated 865,000 hours of service to the organization.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Black & White Ball Raises $70k for South Bay Kids

Plus good news for the San Diego Zoo and Miracle Babies

The SoCal (Social Calendar!)

From black-tie galas to costumed 5Ks, these events will keep your social calendar full—and you feeling good

The New Children’s Museum Commissions Interactive Art with NEA Grant

Plus Just in Time for Foster Youth’s special guest, the San Diego Rescue Mission gets a boost, and save the date for three upcoming events
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Charitable Events

March 2019


  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
24 25 26 27 28 01 02
03 04 05 06 07 08 09
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 01 02 03 04 05 06
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2019
    From pho to fries, you can choose San Diego's best eats and drinks in 99 categories
  2. Puesto's Next Top Taco
    Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize
  3. Best Restaurants in San Diego: 2018
    San Diego's top restaurant owners, chefs, and bartenders name their favorite San Diego restaurants of 2018.
  4. The Best Soup Dumplings in San Diego
    My hunt for the best xiao long bao in the city unearthed two surprising winners
  5. Behind the Brands 2019
  6. 21 Ultimate Road Trip Itineraries from San Diego
    These getaways will take you through California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Mexico
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags