Lasagna Love - Caring in a Pan!


Have you seen Facebook posts from Lasagna Love that promise you a free pan of lasagna? No strings attached, no sad stories, just a simple click on the link on their page and you can receive, or send to someone you love, a delicious treat. What is more comforting than a plate of warm, gooey and savory lasagna?

When the Covid pandemic began Rhiannon Menn, a mom in Massachusetts, was aware that many of her neighbors were struggling in some fashion, whether it was economic, health, or just plain fear and anxiety over the unknown. She and her daughter wanted to help and began making and delivering meals to their neighbors. Soon, word spread of her acts of kindness for providing not just meals, but comfort and kindness during uncertain times. People began posting pictures and stories on the Internet and soon, a movement based on community, kindness, and comfort took off. Families could request a delivery of lasagna and home cooks volunteered to buy the ingredients and prepare them – this was during the lockdown, so they had time, home delivery options, as well as the desire to do something generous and kind for their neighbors and community. During the lockdown, most of us missed the human touch, that interaction with family, friends, neighbors, and businesses that we had come to depend on. At the end of a day of working or going to school remotely, with non-stop coverage on television, a small dose of comfort was a much-needed addition to our lives. Many were looking for connections and food turned out to be a wonderful way to help even as we coped with isolation, illness, loneliness, and boredom.

Soon, with the help of the Internet, Menn’s actions spurred a movement that went viral. What better way to pass the time than cooking for others, or requesting a little love from friends you’ve never met, nourishing body and soul at the same time? The mission of Lasagna Love is simple: to think of others and do random acts of kindness for strangers, such as cooking and delivering that lasagna along with a card or note. Here’s how it works: volunteers register on the Lasagna Love website to either cook or make a monetary donation. Cooks can register to get matched up with a local family and they’re given information such as dietary requests (vegetarian, etc.) and coordinate delivery of the pan of yummy goodness to the lucky recipients. Meals can be delivered contact-free if requested, but judging by the online reviews, many seem to truly enjoy human contact and interaction.

The process is quite basic. A person goes online to the Lasagna Love website and fills out a form with the recipient’s name and cell phone and that person then gets a text saying they’ve been nominated to get a free dish of lasagna. Once they accept it, they’re asked for their address and a convenient time for delivery. You can nominate anyone, even yourself, and are never asked for a reason. All Lasagna Love asks of the recipient is to pay it forward however they can with an act of kindness. In fact, that is the backbone of the Lasagna Love credo – the Kindness Pledge. These are random acts of kindness that anyone can do and don’t have to cost a penny or take much effort. They’re listed on the website and include such basics as phoning a friend, writing a letter to a relative, helping a neighbor clean up their yard, baking cookies for a doctor’s office – the acts are only limited by your imagination!

Local recipients spoke up on Facebook groups to tell the Clifton Times how wonderful the pasta dish is – Louis said, “It was delicious!” Pattie and JoAnne said they’ve both sent and received, Becca said she nominated a friend during a difficult time, and the lasagna was “ready to put in the oven, with garlic bread too!” Laura said she’d received several during cancer treatments and the lasagna was “always delicious, and everyone was so kind – definitely recommend!” Others spoke of the kind cooks who took time to talk to the recipients, and several said they planned on donating as soon as they were able to. Dawn Marie summed it up best, “I’ve been on the receiving and giving end…Lasagna Love is wonderful!”

To date, Lasagna Love has delivered 350,000 lasagnas, impacting 1,500,000 grateful recipients. They have over 45,000 home cooks volunteering in three countries, including the US, Canada, and even Australia. If you do decide to volunteer, please consider sharing your experience with The Clifton Times – happy cooking!

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