Lasagna Love, a national nonprofit, brings free lasagna to Maine
A pay-it-forward initiative that started in the Boston area during the pandemic offering one of Italy’s most iconic comfort dishes to anyone in need has expanded nationally and is now solidly in Maine.
Lasagna Love, now boasting 45,000 volunteers around the country, was started by a Massachusetts woman, Rhiannon Menn, in 2020. Prompted by the COVID-19-related struggles of families in her community, she founded Lasagna Love, delivering lasagnas to her friends and community. This home initiative kept growing, going national, until Menn turned it into a nonprofit.
The premise is simple: someone signs up for a lasagna for a home delivery. A volunteer in that community makes the dish from scratch and does a contactless drop-off. There is no money exchanged. The purpose is to provide comfort to anyone in need—no questions asked.
In little over three years, Lasagna Love has delivered more than 350,000 lasagnas to families and has now expanded to three countries.
Angie Madore is the regional director for the state of Maine. Having moved from Massachusetts to Maine a year ago, she got involved as a lasagna chef, delivering meals as a volunteer herself.
“Personally, I love the opportunity to give back to the community or just to make someone’s day or week,” said Madore. “I love to cook and I also love the flexibility of it with two school-age children of my own.”
“When my son and I had been moving to our new home during the shut down for Covid, I heard about this program and signed up. A wonderful volunteer made one and delivered it to our home. It was so nice. I was struggling and had no car and was trying to move. I was so thankful for this wonderful meal that we got to enjoy. I hadn’t heard anything about it after that until now, so I am really glad others can also enjoy some lasagna love.”
Madore said the nonprofit currently has 103 volunteers in the state of Maine with most of them in the southern part of the state. They are looking to grow their volunteer base in coastal, central, and northern Maine so that they can accommodate the growing number of requests in these areas as our outreach extends further into these communities.
“Any volunteer in any part of Maine can sign up to cook,” she said.
Home chefs can put any spin they want on their own recipes and choose to cook only once, once a week, once a month, or however it fits into their schedules. Sometimes, instead of using a disposable aluminum pan, some chefs will go to Goodwill and pick up a ceramic pan for the same price and include that with the delivery. All home chefs agree to front the cost of ingredients and drive to the recipient’s house, determining how far they are willing to deliver.
As for recipients, the website also allows you to request a lasagna for someone else who might be going through a hard time.
Madore said they often get requests from single moms, working parents who might be overwhelmed, teachers, medical workers, people who have experienced tragedies, medical issues, or simply might be temporarily sick, as well as those experiencing food insecurity.
“We’re a kindness initiative and everyone is in need of kindness,” she said. “We don’t ask intake questions to determine need.”
Madore said she often gets asked why the recipe is only lasagna. When initially created in Naples during the 14th century, the dish was mainly brought out for special events and holidays. ‘It’s the ultimate comfort food and made with a lot of care and attention.” she said. “And it’s a hearty meal that can be stretched out over a number of days.”
For more information on Lasagna Love including how to be a volunteer or how to sign up as a recipient visit: https://lasagnalove.org
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com