January 19 - If you are looking at everything happening in these troubled days and thinking there is nothing you can do, I am going to tell you about a mom of three in San Diego, Rhiannon Menn. …
January 19 - If you are looking at everything happening in these troubled days and thinking there is nothing you can do, I am going to tell you about a mom of three in San Diego, Rhiannon Menn.
Last April during the Covid pandemic Mrs. Menn was feeling very helpless and struggling to find a purpose during the pandemic lockdown and wanted to do something to help her neighbors who were suffering hardship and loss because of the pandemic. So, Rhiannon along with her young daughter decided to make some extra lasagna meals and give them to her neighbors in need.
With this simple act of kindness Lasagna Love was up and running. Most of us believe lasagna to be a much-loved Italian classic but the truth is the very first known recipe originated in Ancient Greece. What we know today as lasagna is derived from the Greek word “laganon” which was the first form of flat pasta cut into thin strips and made into a dish. Wherever it hails from it is the quintessential comfort food especially if you are a family struggling to put food on the table.
Nine months later, Rhiannon's wish to spread kindness and feed families is now the national Lasagna Love Organization that has their “Lasagna Mamas and Papas” making lasagnas and other main dishes in forty-seven states across the country and has delivered over 11,000 lasagnas prepared by 10,000 lasagna volunteers.
According to Jen Murtagh Petersen who is the Sullivan County Regional Leader, Sullivan County (population of 75,465 souls) only has five mamas (no papas), and Orange County has ten volunteers. She explained that volunteering as a Lasagna Mamma is very flexible and can be scheduled to make lasagnas for as many times a week or a month as you want and delivering to the number of families you choose and there is no commitment of time you can be a Mama. For Jen she volunteers twice a month and prepares lasagna or another main dish for two families.
When asked about what recipe she uses, Jen chuckled and told me she uses her own favorite recipe for lasagna from the back of the Ronzoni box which is really delicious. Jen said it cost her about $20.00 to $25.00 to feed her two families and she spends about 5 hours a week preparing her meals and the recipe can be adjusted to be vegan, vegetarian or gluten free.
Also, the lasagna can be delivered, cooked so it only needs to be heated or delivered hot ready to eat. All delivery drop offs are contact-less by leaving the meal on a porch or at the front door and comes with a note attached from the Mama with the list of ingredients and words of encouragement.
According to Mrs. Menn “Lasagna Love is predicated to help others without the expectation of gratitude or reciprocation - the very essence of giving.”
Now the Lasagna Love is reaching out to recruit more volunteers and to local food pantries that are incredibly overburdened to spread the word about their program hoping to reach more people who could benefit from getting a homemade lasagna or meal delivered once a week to their door.
Lasagna Love makes it very easy to either request a meal or sign up as a Mamma or Papa volunteer or to put in a request for yourself or nominate someone to get a lasagna. There is an opportunity to donate and support a lasagna mama and papa if you are not at your best in the kitchen which would be a lovely idea to support the organization.
I asked Jen Murtagh Petersen why she decided to volunteer? “I have always been a helper, my parents raised me to be compassionate and generous, so I've just carried that with me”, she said. It seems that compassion and kindness is truly the winning ticket and the best bet going forward for all of us.
For more information you can visit www.lasagnalove.org or on Facebook or go to their portal at www.lasagnaloveportal.org.
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