Central Florida/Flagler County, FL – Just about everybody loves lasagna.
Whether it’s cooked with hamburger, sausage, turkey burger, or vegan style, there’s something heartwarming about a pan of lasagna that says ‘gather around the table, let’s eat’.
So when mompreneur Rhiannon Menn, CEO and founder of nonprofit Lasagna Love and the ‘Good to Mama’ community saw the need as the pandemic separated people in a way not experienced before, she sprang into action delivering her first pan of lasagna in March 2020.
Friends and social media followers soon joined up and followed suit. After an appearance on the Today Show, Lasagna Love became a full-blown national movement feeding about 7,500 families a week, that Central Florida resident Kristen Savage was happy to become a part of.
The Sanford mom found a way to stay connected with her community by baking lasagnas for families starting in November 2020, and became the regional leader for a swath of Florida between Jacksonville and Orlando, spanning coast to coast.
“I was just a volunteer making lasagnas,” said Savage, who led a nonprofit feeding the homeless in Buffalo, New York before moving to Florida.
Enjoying the opportunity to connect ‘lasagna chefs’ throughout the region to folks in the community needing a little neighborly love, Savage says there are about 25 volunteers who serve on a weekly, monthly or as needed basis for contactless delivery of the savory, home-cooked meals.
“I’ve known people who’ve struggled, I’ve struggled myself, and my favorite thing about the group is that it just takes away the stigma of being like ‘I’m overwhelmed and I have a need for this right now, I would like a neighbor to help me’ and we are just here to jump on and help,” said Savage. “I believe it’s as rewarding for our lasagna chefs to do this as it is for the recipients to receive.”
Locally, Lisa Hansen has found the weekly volunteering to be a fun way get to know her new community. Moving to Flagler County with her husband last summer from Georgia, the pair plug in the GPS and head out to make their delivery.
Fully customizable request forms allow those receiving the meals to specify any special needs but Hansen says it’s been the traditional meat and cheese recipes for her, so far.
“Mine have all been pretty straightforward, like I would make for my family,” shared Hansen.
Special notes let Hansen know what the family may be experiencing and it makes her feel good to know that in a time of need, she can help make the burden a little bit lighter.
“One family the husband and wife both had COVID and were recovering from illnesses, and another one was helping to take care of her mom with cancer, you know just people that could use a helping hand, just a home cooked meal,” said Hansen, a one-a-week chef.
Organizing the volunteers, Savage said she counts on dependable volunteers like Lisa to help, and is grateful for the network that’s connecting communities and making an impact across the nation.
“Our motto is simple – spread kindness, feed families and connect communities,” said Savage. “We like to make it as personal as we can, from the heart, we say.”
To be a volunteer lasagna chef or to request a meal, visit www.lasagnalove.org.