By SDCN Editor
San Diego, CA–Mama’s Kitchen is calling on volunteers to help deliver nutritious and medically tailored meals to critically ill people in San Diego, organizers said.
As the largest nonprofit provider of home-delivered meals in San Diego and the sole provider of medically tailored meals, Mama’s Kitchen needs volunteers ahead of the busy holiday season.
The organization needs volunteer help in meal delivery, kitchen and staging, and phone and office support. The urgent need for volunteers is a result of a continuing surge in demand for medically tailored meals for individuals experiencing a health complication that leaves them homebound.
Mama’s Kitchen CEO Alberto Cortés is calling on community members to consider volunteering for the organization.
“No amount of volunteer support is too small—even picking up a single meal delivery shift once a month, which takes less than three hours, can have a tremendous impact,” Cortés said.
While the Hunger Coalition reports that San Diego’s hunger rates have receded to pre-pandemic rates, Mama’s Kitchen continues to see sky-rocketing needs from the critically ill population. The long-term impacts of the pandemic have resulted in rising rates of chronic illness, and Mama’s Kitchen now receives close to 400 new referrals each month. As the nonprofit closed out its 2022-2023 fiscal year in June, Mama’s Kitchen was shocked to find that they delivered a record-breaking 816,920 medically tailored meals, which is a 22 percent increase over the prior year.
“We continue to see more critically ill community members enrolling in our Medically Tailored Meal Service,” says Cortés. “Along with that comes the need for increased volunteer support, especially for delivery drivers, to ensure each client has access to this crucial lifeline. We currently need 200 additional volunteers to meet the community needs we anticipate for the rest of this year and into 2024.”
Volunteer opportunities are available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m..
Research has shown that volunteering offers meaningful health benefits, especially for older adults. “Volunteering to do a meal delivery for two routes at a time has been the most memorable experience for us,” says Monica, Mama’s Kitchen volunteer delivery driver. “My husband and I were happy to deliver in the City Heights and North Park neighborhoods, where we lived when we were growing up!”
For community members interested in volunteering with Mama’s Kitchen, the first step is to complete an application. Next, prospective volunteers attend a 30-minute volunteer orientation session (virtual or in-person), where they learn more about Mama’s Kitchen and the volunteer opportunities available. All volunteers are required to do a background check for delivery driver volunteer positions and conduct reference checks for all non-delivery volunteer positions.