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

Project Homeless Connect—East County Gets Welcome Funding

Plus good news for San Diego police and shelter pets

Volunteers of America Southwest Raises $115,000 for Homeless Veterans with Disabilities

Plus the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, New Children’s Museum, and the Burn Institute receive grants

8 Ways to Recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month in San Diego

Cycling, rowing and beer fundraisers, plus free mammograms and educational events
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Charitable Events

October 2018


  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
30 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
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best of San Diego Party 2018
  2. The Best of San Diego 2018
    We crown 103 winners in food, shopping, fitness, kids’ activities, and more
  3. Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
    Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
  4. Javier Plascencia Eyes Barrio Logan
    The award-winning chef is all over Mexico, but looks to make a San Diego comeback
  5. A Sneak Peek at ‘The Heart of Rock & Roll’
    The Old Globe’s newest world-premiere musical promises a familiar soundtrack and all the good feels of an ’80s rom-com
  6. What San Diego Women Want
    53 working women share their compelling stories on navigating pay equity, the baby penalty, #MeToo, and more
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags