Nothing says love like a lasagna. With its bubbling cheese, robust tomato sauce and variety of fillings, something about the dish just warms the soul.
That’s the premise behind Lasagna Love, a global nonprofit celebrating its two-year anniversary.
When Jennifer Jarman’s mother died in 2020, she felt overwhelmed with grief. “I remember my mom loving to cook and feed people,” says Jarman, a Felton resident. At some point during her mourning, she came across a story on Lasagna Love.
“I honestly don’t remember how I came across it, but it spoke to me, and I reached out immediately,” she says. She is now the Delaware organizer for Lasagna Love.
The organization started in a similar fashion in California during the pandemic. Rhiannon Menn, a chef and mother, was looking for a way to help other mothers during the pandemic. She went into her kitchen and baked a lasagna to deliver to a mom in need. The idea was born, and soon she founded Lasagna Love, which now has organizers in the U.S. and beyond.
The premise is simple. Anyone can request a lasagna for themselves or for someone they know is in need. It can be any kind of need—new mothers, people going through loss of a job, a death in the family, etc.
The person or family is paired with a volunteer “chef” who makes the lasagna and delivers it. Details can be worked out between the chef and the recipient through an online portal.
In Delaware, Jarman works with 111 active chefs who have delivered more than 350 lasagnas this year. Globally, Lasagna Love serves 3,500 meals each week in three countries with help from 20,000 volunteers.
“There are so many people in need and, perhaps a lasagna won’t solve all their problems, but it lets them know that people care,” says Marianne Carter, a volunteer and outreach coordinator for Lasagna Love in Delaware.
“We are always looking for new volunteers,” she says. “We have whole church groups, Girl Scout troops and families who participate. You can decide how often you can provide a lasagna and then get matched on your schedule.”
Deliveries are contact-less, with chefs often texting the recipient that they left the lasagna on the porch or doorstep, Carter says. “It makes the process more comfortable.”
Lasagna Love has an entire training program for new chefs, including videos from founder, Menn.
“When I heard the group was starting in Delaware, I just knew I had to help,” Carter recalls. “I’m a cancer survivor and, when I was going through treatment, I had a friend who would deliver freezer meals, so I had less to worry about.”
Knowing a meal is on its way takes one burden away.
“And you can’t mess up a lasagna, especially when it is made with love,” Carter says.
You can learn more or volunteer to be a lasagna chef here.
Related: Food Network Star Chef Rawstrom Teaches Delaware Students