Mama’s Kitchen Receives Cushman Foundation Grant to Launch New Chronic Kidney Disease Nutrition Program

SAN DIEGO (September 15, 2020)Mama’s Kitchen has been selected as a Cushman Foundation 2020 “Making a Difference for San Diego” grant recipient. The three-year, $100,000 grant will allow the organization to launch a new Chronic Kidney Disease Nutrition Program.

“We are incredibly grateful and honored to have the support of the Cushman Foundation to launch this new program and expand the mission of Mama’s Kitchen to serve an additional critical illness – chronic kidney disease,” says Alberto Cortés, CEO, Mama’s Kitchen. “Research shows medically tailored nutrition intervention can have a significant impact at slowing or stopping the progression of chronic kidney disease. After speaking with many of our referring medical professionals and understanding the number of San Diego residents affected by this disease, it became clear a program like this could have a significant impact on countless lives.”

Mama’s Kitchen, a local nonprofit celebrating its 30th anniversary, provides home-delivered medically tailored meals and nutrition services at no-cost to San Diegans battling critical illnesses, including HIV, cancer, congestive heart failure, type 2 diabetes, and now chronic kidney disease (CKD). The nonprofit’s services allow clients to receive the nutritional support they need without leaving the safety of their home, which makes Mama’s Kitchen’s work even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure its immunocompromised clients are not risking their health and safety to obtain a meal.

“The Cushman Foundation is extremely proud to help Mama’s Kitchen launch this new program,” says Lori Moore with Cushman Foundation. “Addressing the specialized nutritional needs of chronic kidney disease patients will make an enormous difference in the quality of life for many San Diegans.”

CKD is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. During the first four stages, individuals can slow and even stop the progression of their illness through diet and lifestyle changes. In San Diego County alone, an estimated 5,000 people are experiencing Stage 4 CKD or End Stage Renal Disease. Research published in Clinical Practice suggests that nearly 40% of senior citizens in the U.S. have been noted to have CKD.

Mama’s Kitchen’s Chronic Kidney Disease Nutrition Program is now accepting client referrals. It is the only San Diego-based nutrition service delivering medically tailored meals and disease self-management education to individuals with CKD at no-cost. Once referred by a medical provider and enrolled, Mama’s Kitchen will home-deliver medically tailored meals designed by a registered dietitian for their individual diagnosis. Additionally, each client receives three months of disease-management education to help clients improve their quality of life and health outcomes, while reducing food insecurity and alleviating pressure on our health care system. The organization will also deliver meals to clients’ dependent children if needed at no-cost.

“For many San Diegans, this program can mean the difference between disease self-management rather than months or even years of life on dialysis or waiting for a kidney transplant,” says Cortés. “Launching this program would not have been possible without the Cushman Foundation and this grant.”

Mama's Kitchen was established in 1990 by a San Diego caregiver who enlisted volunteers to prepare and deliver free meals to neighbors who were sick with HIV/AIDS and unable to cook for themselves. The organization realized that a reliable home meal delivery service was needed to ensure that these individuals would continue to receive nutritious, life-sustaining food. In 2004, Mama’s Pantry was launched to serve HIV+ San Diegans who are healthy enough to cook but unable to purchase nutritious food due to extremely low income. Since then, the organization has expanded their Home-Delivered Meal Service program to other at-risk populations including those battling cancer (2006), individuals with heart failure and diabetes (2018), and individuals with chronic kidney disease (2020). Beyond medically tailored meals, clients also receive nutritional counseling from registered dietitians. In 2019, the organization delivered its 9 millionth meal.

For 30 years, Mama’s Kitchen has never turned away a client who qualified for its services. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the organization responded to a 65% increase in demand, welcoming more than 712 new critically ill clients, and delivering more than 300,000 meals in a five-month period. Mama’s Kitchen will continue to provide emergency response efforts and currently provides home-delivered meals and nutrition education services to over 2,000 women, men, and children in San Diego.

County annually. Learn more and make a donation at Connect with Mama’s Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Cushman Foundation has been quietly supporting the San Diego community for 30 years. It is the philosophy of the Cushman Foundation to have a sense of social responsibility and to honor the communities in which they have conducted business. The Making a Difference for San Diego initiative is a commitment by the Cushman Foundation to give back to the city that has supported their family for seven generations. The Cushman Foundation’s Making a Difference for San Diego Grant Program was established in 2018.

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