Six Questions with Mama’s Kitchen’s Grants & Corporate Partnerships Manager Ben Coyle

Think Red Project Logo

As a part of our mission to bring increased awareness of the amazing efforts of our local HIV/AIDS community and service organizations, Think Red Project (the non-profit organization behind Red Dress Party San Diego) will be publishing periodic blogs highlighting a beneficiary of the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative (SDHDF). The SDHDF currently grants funds to 11 different HIV/AIDS service organizations in San Diego. #CelebrateImpact

The following is a Q&A with Ben Coyle, Grants & Corporate Partnerships Manager at Mama’s Kitchen:

Question: In one sentence, what does your organization represent?
Ben Coyle: Mama’s Kitchen is a community driven organization that delivers meals and nutrition support to men, women, and children severely affected by HIV/AIDS to help our neighbors avoid hunger, facilitate health outcomes, lower healthcare costs, and improve quality of life.

Q: Why is it still important to care about HIV/AIDS today?
BC: More than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 8 (12.8%) are unaware of their infection; as our HIV+ population ages we will need to strengthen the continuum of care and support services available to this community.

Q: What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from your clientele?
BC: Nutrition plays a major role in the health of someone with HIV/AIDS by strengthening the immune system, improving medication adherence and efficacy, alleviating treatment side effects, maintaining essential weight and strength, and often returning the individual to independent living.

Q: How does your organization use the money granted from the HIV Funding Collaborative?
BC: Mama’s Kitchen used grant funds to purchase food and meal containers for our AIDS Nutrition Program (our home delivered meal service for individuals too ill from HIV/AIDS to prepare their own meals) and pantry service (our free pantry for low-income HIV positive residents). These programs provide the critical nutrition needed to facilitate improved health outcomes, lower healthcare costs, and improved quality of life.

Q: What are the needs in the local HIV/AIDS community that you think have not been met or can be improved upon?
BC: Additional resources need to be allocated to address the dire health needs of many people with HIV/AIDS who not only have no health insurance or access to health care, but often no money to feed themselves or their families.

Q: What’s one thing you’d like to tell today’s youth or younger generation? Or what type of change would you like to see people make in the fight against HIV/AIDS?
BC: More than half of the new HIV infections today are people 15-24 years old; in order to stop the spread of this disease, it’s imperative that individuals practice safe behaviors, whether they are infected or uninfected.

For more information about Mama’s Kitchen, please visit www.mamaskitchen.org.

mama kitchen logo-header