A Somerville woman’s idea to make lasagnas with her daughter to pass the time and feed neighbors in need during the COVID-19 pandemic’s stay at home order has spread to East Boston and across the state and nation.
Rhiannon Menn’s idea to spread ‘Lasagna Love’ was born in the early days of the pandemic in March. While at home with her family, Menn, who loves to cook, decided to make a few lasagna’s to hand out to struggling families that were out of work due to the virus.
What started out as seven lasagnas for families in need in Somerville has turned into a nationwide phenomenon.
Menn began posting her efforts on Facebook and soon there was a growing number of families reaching out for a meal as well as other mothers that wanted to help.
Soon the group became known as “Lasagna Mamas” and the network of those looking to help grew and spread to Eastie.
Currently there are 11 ‘Lasagna Mamas’ in the hard-hit COVID community here. They have all signed up to cook at least one lasagna per week for another Eastie family or individual in need.
Other chapters have started in Iowa, California, Texas and Arizona. Menn also has interested moms looking to set up chapters in Rhode Island, Southern New Hampshire, Atlanta, and Nashville.
Recently, Menn and her daughter Cimorene were featured on WBZ-TV Monday, as well as some of the other Lasagna Mamas helping out in Eastie.
“Lasagna Love has grown to over 120 volunteers, and we’ve delivered over 1,000 meals to families in need,” said Menn after the piece aired. “I can’t even believe it. We have 12 new Lasagna Mamas that signed up across Massachusetts after seeing the story on the news.”
Menn told WBZ that Lasagna Mamas here in Eastie like Rebecca Lynds recently made lasagna for a mom who is six months pregnant and recovering from COVID. Another Eastie Lasagna Mama cooked for a mom who suddenly lost her daughter to cancer.
“The number of kids facing food insecurity has gone through the roof since the pandemic started and there are families that have never had to ask for help before that are now having to find help and it’s so hard for them to ask,” Menn told WBZ. “I can’t tell you how many messages I get that start with something like ‘I’m embarrassed’ or ‘This is really hard for me to do’ or ‘I’ve never had to do this before,’ to be able to say we’re here for you and we want to help, that’s really powerful right now.”
Menn has set up a website at https://www.begoodtomama.com where Lasagna Mamas can sign up to cook and those in need of a hot meal can connect with Lasagna Mamas in their community.
“I was just happy that we could help the families in my own neighborhood,” Menn told WBZ. “If you would have asked me 3 months ago if I would be sitting here managing a network of 100 volunteers and delivering and making lasagnas I would have told you you are crazy.”