Looking to give back? Try Lasagna Love.

Lasagna Love is one of the few good things to have come out of COVID19. Lasagna Love, and a handful of important life lessons. Amongst them– and perhaps the most important of all– is the power of community. When we come together and help one another, we can create positive change.

My inkling is that Rhiannon Menn, founder of Lasagna Love, shares this perspective. 

When COVID19 quarantines started at the beginning of 2020, Rhiannon identified a way she could help her neighbors: she could deliver a hot, homemade meal for the night. A delicious, hearty meal could cross off a task found on every household’s to-do list. A simple, but highly impactful gesture during the thick of COVID-quarantines when parents like herself were desperate for any ounce of help they could get. 

Enter: Lasagna Love, created to help take the load of dinner off of figurative plates across the USA.

Working with this organization has functioned as a silver-lining for me during these strange times. Having the opportunity to volunteer from home– with ease, convenience, and flexibility– while spreading a little love to my neighbors has been something I’ve looked forward to each month.

If I could convince you to do anything right now, I’d ask you to sign up as a volunteer with Lasagna Love. This has become my absolute favorite service project, and I’m confident you’ll love it too. Here’s why:

A Simple Idea with Huge Impact 

Lasagna Love’s approach is simple: volunteers sign up to make and deliver a homemade lasagna to someone in their local vicinity. Simultaneously, neighbors who could use the help of a homemade dinner sign up to be matched with a volunteer. Once the match is made, volunteers and recipients typically communicate via text. A date and time to drop off a homemade lasagna is arranged; logistics like allergies are confirmed. Once the delivery is made, the process is complete. 

a completed lasagna
Just needs to be covered with aluminum foil, and then we’re ready to go!

A simple and efficient process. So efficient, in fact, that Lasagna Love’s reach has skyrocketed in less than two years.

What started in one woman’s neighborhood in early 2020 has grown into operating across all 50 states. In about 18 months since its inception, Lasagna Love has donated more than 95 thousand lasagnas to more than 389 thousand individuals. This is all thanks to the more than 33 thousand individuals who have volunteered, as well as the 56 patrons who contribute monthly donations

That’s a lot of people fed in an incredibly short time! Especially considering the extra limitations that COVID19 created.

Lasagna Love has accomplished tremendous work and has a clear upward trajectory in feeding more families. Perhaps they will expand globally in the future.

Immediate, direct help for your neighbors

The relief that Lasagna Love facilitates is fully and immediately received by the folks who need it. I’ve volunteered with countless nonprofits through the years, and I’ve seen many struggle under the weight of disorganization and extensive red tape. 

I’ve volunteered for organizations that only pass along 10% of donations to the folks they serve.

I’ve also volunteered in such a way that my work was part of a multi-step process that created a vast distance between me and the end goal. I’ve made myriad donations that I know are important, albeit feel a bit impersonal.

Which, of course, is fine. Not every act of service will or should be personal, and it’s only the cause that matters. My desire for a more personal experience is a selfish one. 

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the direct relief I’m able to provide through Lasagna Love. My neighbors express needing some support through a homemade meal, and I’m able to make and deliver it straight to them. One hundred percent of our efforts benefit the recipient in need, and there are no hoops to jump through on either end.

I love that, and I love experiencing a closer connection with my community when volunteering with Lasagna Love. I am spreading love to the humans I live amongst and therefore making the neighborhood a little bit better for all of us. In my opinion, that’s how it should always be, everywhere, all the time.

making a lasagna
The beginning of my soon-to-be-donated lasagna

The process is quick and easy 

I mentioned Lasagna Love’s lack of extensive red tape, which is a huge pro for me. Signing up is quick and easy, and most people– myself included– are matched within a few days. 

To get started, just register as a volunteer on Lasagna Love’s website. You’ll fill out a very brief questionnaire with your contact info, zip code, and what you’re willing to offer. For example, can/will you accommodate folks with dietary restrictions or gluten allergies? How far are you willing to drive within your city to deliver your lasagna? And how often do you want to do this?

After online registration, you’ll receive an email as soon as you are matched with a recipient in your area. From there, it’s just setting a time and date to drop off your homemade lasagna. That’s it!

Training is provided through brief videos, which are always accessible in the volunteer portal. The portal is not clunky or confusing. It’s very minimal, simple, and user-friendly. Honestly, this is the easiest and most efficient volunteer experience I’ve ever had. 

It’s extremely flexible 

A huge pro in volunteering with Lasagna Love is its flexibility. I’ve worked with many nonprofits that require volunteers to commit to minimum hours per week or month on a consistent schedule. Although I understand this requirement, it often eliminates me from volunteering.

I’ve always needed flexibility in my community service because I’ve always had a jam-packed life. Whether it was juggling a full-time school schedule and a few part-time jobs at once, or becoming a working mother, I have to get creative about squeezing in volunteer work. 

With Lasagna Love, you can change your profile settings at any time to increase or decrease your volunteer work. Right now, I am committed to donating one lasagna per month, which has been very manageable. In the future when I gain more free time, I’d like to do more. For now, though, I’m happy with my work. I’m donating my fourth lasagna today! 

peppers and onions
The start of every good lasagna

It’s incredibly accessible

Since Lasagna Love now operates in all 50 states, anyone across the USA can sign up as a volunteer or a recipient. Or both! If you start as a volunteer but suddenly find yourself having a tough week or two, never hesitate to sign up to receive a lasagna from one of your neighbors. Lasagna Love aims to spread support to people regardless of what they’re going through. 

Maybe you’ve just had surgery, or you worked a lot of overtime this week, or you’re just not feeling your best emotionally. It doesn’t matter. If a homemade meal from a neighbor would bring relief into your life for the night, then you, too, can and should request a lasagna. 

On that note, remember to spread the word to anyone you know who could use a homemade lasagna! 

It’s enjoyable work

If you hate cooking, then ignore this part. Otherwise, I genuinely believe that volunteering with Lasagna Love is a good time. I’ve done all sorts of volunteer work in my day– everything from fun and creative (think themed fundraisers and dinner parties) to the mundane but necessary (think sorting donated goods and trash clean ups). Some volunteer work is difficult, laborious, and lengthy. 

Lasagna Love is none of those things. It’s quick, easy, and fun. 

Yes, I enjoy cooking, baking, and working with food in general, but even if you don’t, you could host a lasagna-making party with your friends once a month. Each person could bring a different ingredient for the group and everyone could assemble their lasagnas while sipping wine and munching on charcuterie. 

Being able to give back to the community while also genuinely enjoying yourself is always a blessing.

chocolate chip cookies
I always throw in some homemade chocolate chip cookies, too, because why not?

I’ll leave you with one last nudge to volunteer with Lasagna Love. Today is National Lasagna Day. And I’m not just saying that! If you’re reading this on the day I posted it, then today is July 29th and that means it is officially official. That said, you now have two tasks on your to-do list: 

#1. Eat some delicious lasagna

#2. Sign up to volunteer with Lasagna Love

If you do, then I’ll love you forever. Also if you do, then be sure to tag me on Instagram @ImLaurenRose_ because I would absolutely love to see your lasagnas before they’re sent out into the world.