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Tree of Life World AIDS Day ceremony set for Dec. 1

The 22nd annual Tree of Life tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. at 3965 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest. The ceremony, hosted by Mama’s Kitchen and Village Hillcrest, honors those affected by AIDS and recognizes the ongoing leadership efforts to end the world epidemic.

The event is free and open to the public, and is considered San Diego County’s premiere event to commemorate World AIDS Day.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2013 is “Getting to Zero,” which is backed by the United Nations and focuses on zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.

At the Tree of Life ceremony, a candlelight vigil will be held to commemorate those lost to AIDS. TV personality and reporter Perette Godwin will serve as event emcee. There will be holiday tunes from the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus and complimentary refreshments provided by Snooze. More than 200 people are expected to attend.

“The Tree of Life Ceremony is an annual event that helps us remember those who are no longer with us because of AIDS,” said Alberto Cortés, executive director of Mama’s Kitchen, San Diego’s only free county-wide meal delivery service for men, women and children affected by AIDS or cancer. “It’s also a way for us to gather and support those who are battling this horrible disease and dealing with the daily challenges it presents.”

The trees are decorated with ornaments that honor those who have been affected by HIV/AIDS and will remain on display throughout the holiday season at Village Hillcrest. Ornaments can be purchased that evening or online at www.mamaskitchen.org prior to the event, and personalized with a message. The cost is $15 each or two for $25.

All proceeds from the Tree of Life Ceremony benefit Mama’s Kitchen.

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