Stay-at-home orders left many feeling helpless at the beginning of the pandemic. Rhiannon Menn from Somerville, Massachusetts put her cooking skills to use and began making lasagna for struggling families in her community. Menn’s decision led to the creation of Lasagna Love, an organization that has fed more than 3,000 struggling families across the US.
“There were so many moms that I knew who had lost childcare, who had lost jobs,” Menn told TODAY. “They were just feeling stressed out. And so literally one day, I was just like, I’m gonna make extra meals.”
Menn posted to a few mom groups on Facebook to see if anyone struggling would like a lasagna delivered. Within her first week, she delivered seven lasagnas.
Learning Through Lasagna
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This is how Cimorene and I make four lasagnas all at once, to then deliver to families who need a little extra love during the pandemic. 🧡🧡🧡 Look how fast she is!! 😂 (PM me if you’d like to join us!) #toddlerchef #toddlersofinstagram #helpingothers #feedingamerica #lasagnalove #momshelpingmoms #goodtomama
Menn enlisted her 3-year-old daughter, Cimorene, to help her out in the kitchen. In a recent blog post, Menn described the cooking as “an amazing learning opportunity for Cimorene.”
Cooking has taught Cimorene numbers and basic math, whether it be counting the number of noodles for each lasagna layer or how many eggs need to be added. Lasagna-making is also teaching Cimorene the importance of giving.
Menn wrote, “It’s incredible to see giving become part of Cimorene’s language! She’ll ask me ‘Mama, are there niños that need food today?”
Cimorene also isn’t the only one to join Menn in feeding families in need.
“I also got people responding saying, ‘Oh my gosh, like, I’ve been feeling helpless, too. Can I join you tonight? Can I make lasagnas?'” Menn said to TODAY. “And I thought, ‘Okay, why not?'”
Spreading Lasagna Love
Now, Lasagna Love is an organization made of nearly 500 “lasagna mamas” (papas and non-parents can participate too) from over 13 states and 266 cities.
For those who aren’t too keen on cooking, they can still participate in the movement by sponsoring a lasagna mama. Lasagna Love offers a monthly sponsorship through Patreon or a one-time donation through GoFundMe for those wanting to contribute to Lasagna Love’s grocery fund.
“Your actions don’t have to be big to have a big impact. If making lasagna, it takes a few hours and delivering it takes maybe another hour,” Menn told TODAY. “That’s not a huge lift, but it has an amazing impact on one mom.”