Nonprofit born of pandemic spells love L-A-S-A-G-N-A
Volunteers, known as "chefs," sign up at www.lasagnalove.org/volunteer/ to make lasagna for others in their community.
REILES ACRES, N.D. — Lasagna Love, a nonprofit that was born out of the pandemic and provides lasagna meals for community members in need, already has chapters in all 50 states.
Wendy Allen, of Reiles Acres, is the regional leader of Lasagna Love for North Dakota.
In an interview with The Forum, Allen answered questions about the nonprofit, with the questions and answers edited for space and clarity.
Q: What is Lasagna Love?
A: Lasagna Love is a global nonprofit that encompasses all 50 states, where it is broken into regions. I am the regional leader for North Dakota. Lasagna Love started in early 2020 in California during the pandemic and began taking off across the country in late 2020. The first volunteer chef in North Dakota signed up in January 2021.
Q: How does it work?
A: Volunteers, known as "chefs," sign up at www.lasagnalove.org/volunteer/ to make lasagna for others in their community. Anyone can sign up to make lasagna. Meanwhile, families and individuals wishing to receive lasagna sign up at www.lasagnalove.org/request/ . Everything goes through the website www.lasagnalove.org to keep it organized, safe and confidential. Volunteers can sign up to make as much or as little lasagna as they want in a given week. They can also take time off, too.
Q: How many meals have been made for people in North Dakota and how many chefs are currently volunteering?
A: About 91 people are volunteering to make lasagna across North Dakota. Approximately 267 families in North Dakota have received lasagna.
Q: Do you cook lasagna for families? How did you get involved?
A: Yes, my family and I have cooked lasagnas for those in our area. It's been very rewarding to help those that might need a meal for whatever reason. I got involved after seeing the national efforts mentioned on the Kelly Clarkson TV show.
Q: Are there examples of requests you can share?
A: We receive requests for many different reasons — teachers that are feeling stressed during the school year, when someone has a sick family member, when someone is going through cancer treatments and many other reasons. We provide lasagnas to people like families struggling with food insecurity, neighbors feeling isolated and friends that deserve a thank-you.
Q: Can you give a recent example of a family you made lasagna for?
A: One of the most memorable deliveries I did was to a family, and they were so thankful because the mom was in the hospital and it was dad at home with the kids. He was working full time, trying to take care of his wife in the hospital along with doing all the household duties, as well. Bringing them a meal was one less thing he had to worry about.
Q: What is it about lasagna that makes it a good dish to provide families in need of a bit of help?
A: Lasagna is comfort food. We want to deliver love, not just food. It's something unique to make for families, and when we are making up a bunch for many families, it is an easy process to make an assembly line.