Preparing meals at Mama's Kitchen.
Preparing meals at Mama’s Kitchen. On May 26, the nonprofit delivered 6,300 meals to 700 critically ill clients, a record for the organization.

Sycuan Casino Resort announced Thursday it would match donations for nonprofit Mama’s Kitchen up to $25,000 through Aug. 31 to benefit the organization’s emergency response fund.

Mama’s Kitchen provides home-delivered, medically tailored meals and nutrition services to critically ill San Diegans affected with HIV, cancer, congestive heart failure and type 2 diabetes.

Its services allow clients to receive the nutritional support they need without leaving the safety of their home, a critical factor during the COVID-19 pandemic so immunocompromised people are not risking their health and safety to obtain a meal.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge our community, many San Diegans are still fearful of leaving their homes, including our clients who are most vulnerable to devastating effects of coronavirus,” said Alberto Cortes, CEO of Mama’s Kitchen. “We’re honored to once again have the support of Sycuan Casino Resort to help us raise critical funds to provide our neighbors the nutrition they need during these uncertain times.

“Sycuan Casino Resort and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation have been dedicated supporters of Mama’s Kitchen and our local community for many years. As our team continues to work to ensure our clients never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, we are grateful for the generous dedication of community partners like Sycuan that we can continue our work to keep our clients safe at home,” Cortes said.

As the pandemic progressed in San Diego County, Mama’s Kitchen saw an immediate increase in demand for its services to critically ill individuals and families most at risk from COVID-19 given their compromised immune systems.

On May 26, the nonprofit delivered 6,300 meals to 700 critically ill clients, a record for the organization.

The demand is a 62% increase from before the stay-at-home order was issued, Mama’s Kitchen said in a statement, and the nonprofit projects its clientele and meals served will remain elevated due to the crisis. Since the pandemic began, Mama’s Kitchen has delivered more than 220,000 meals.

The nonprofit’s goal is to raise $450,000 to cover the increase in expenses due to the pandemic. The emergency response fund gives community members the option to donate directly to Mama’s Kitchen or start their own fundraising page.

As of July 1, Mama’s Kitchen has raised $361,021 through the fund. But the need for support is still great. Mama’s Kitchen and Sycuan are hopeful that the dollar-for-dollar match will help to meet the $450,000 goal and keep up with increased demand.

“We have been proud supporters of Mama’s Kitchen for more than two decades,” said Cody J. Martinez, chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. “Right now more than ever, Mama’s Kitchen needs our support. Sycuan is pledging $25,000 to the Emergency Response Fund and we hope that many more people will consider donating to this incredible cause, so that our critically ill neighbors can get the nutritious meals that they need.”

Mama’s Kitchen is still accepting referrals for critically ill individuals and their dependent children and does not have a waiting list. For 30 years, the organization has never turned away a qualified individual and is working to continue that goal throughout the pandemic.

Community members can donate to Mama’s Kitchen’s emergency response fund online, by mail or by phone. To learn more about the Sycuan $25,000 Matching Challenge, go to mamaskitchen.org/sycuanmatch. For more ways to support the organization’s efforts, go to mamaskitchen.org.

— City News Service

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