WHAT: Hundreds of community members are expected to attend the 25th annual Tree of Life Tree Lighting Ceremony hosted by Mama’s Kitchen and sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Attendees will enjoy holiday tunes from the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus and complimentary refreshments will be provided by Kona Coffee. More than 200 people are expected to attend.
The theme of World AIDS Day 2016 is “Hands Up for #HIVPrevention,” which is supported by the United Nations and focuses on raising awareness of HIV and the importance of HIV education. World AIDS Day reminds people that HIV has not gone away and that there are many things still to be done. Worldwide, there were about 2.1 million new cases of HIV in 2015. About 36.7 million people are living with HIV around the world. An estimated 1.1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2015. More than 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV, and 1 in 8 of them don’t know it and the state of California had the highest number of HIV diagnoses in 2014, with 5,551 new cases.
WHERE: Village Hillcrest Retail Center, 3965 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, 92103
WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, 6:00 p.m. Best time to cover is from 6 to 7 p.m.
COST: The event is free and open to the public.
WHY: The event is San Diego County’s premiere event to commemorate World AIDS Day and honors those affected by AIDS and recognizes ongoing leadership efforts made to end the worldwide epidemic. It is also a fundraiser for Mama’s Kitchen, San Diego’s only county-wide meal delivery service for hundreds of men, women and children affected by AIDS or cancer. During the past 26 years, Mama’s Kitchen has served over eight million meals and has never turned away a client who qualified for our services. In 2015, Mama’s Kitchen delivered, 274,923 meals to 405 San Diegans affected by HIV/AIDS, 70,611 meals to 196 San Diegans affected by cancer, including 46,797 meals to 120 children whose parents were affected by HIV/AIDS or cancer.
VISUALS & INTERVIEWS:
- 6 p.m. to 6:10 p.m.: Community members purchasing and hanging ornaments, viewing AIDS Quilt panels and enjoying refreshments.
- 6:15 p.m.: Program begins.
- Trees decorated with ornaments honoring those who have been affected by AIDS. Ornament sales benefit Mama’s Kitchen. Trees are on display throughout the month of December.
- Hundreds of candles lit throughout the event to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS.
- Attendees bringing non-perishable food donations for the Mama’s Pantry program.
- Holiday tunes provided by members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego.
- AIDS quilts will be displayed at the event.
- Alberto Cortés, executive director, Mama’s Kitchen – he is fluent in both English and Spanish.
- Patrick Loose, chief of the HIV, STD and Hepatitis Branch of Public Health Services, County of San Diego.
- Dr. Adam Zweig, medical director of AHF San Diego Healthcare Center.
- Radio personality Delana Bennett is the event emcee.
THE FOLLOWING ELECTED OFFICIALS AND DIGNITARIES HAVE BEEN SCHEDULED TO ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE:
- Mayor Kevin Faulconer
- Assembly Member Marie Waldron
- County Supervisor Ron Roberts
- Councilmember, Assembly Member-Elect, Todd Gloria
- Councilmember Chris Cate
For more information about Tree of Life or to participate in holiday giving opportunities, please call (619) 233-6262 or visit www.mamaskitchen.org.