If you know anything about lasagna, you know it’s all about the sauce.
The "Lasagna Mamas and Papas" have their recipe figured out, and they aren't shy about revealing their secret ingredient: a pinch of love.
It's all part of the Lasagna Love movement, which started in a San Diego kitchen and now reaches tables of hungry families in every corner of the country thanks to hundreds of volunteers.
Their fresh, hot, and most importantly, free, deep dishes of heart-hugging, velvety carb blankets layered among tomato-based euphoria crowned by crusts of heavenly cheese go out to people who could really use a meal, or to people who could really use a break.
“It was nice not having to cook for one night,” said Megan Smith, the mother and anchor of a military family with four special needs children.
Her husband is gone every other day for 36 hours at a time, so the extra help with dinner really made a difference.
Smith is one of the newest names on lasagna mama Shelby Morgan's list. Morgan is one of over 300 volunteer chefs helping in 56 different cities.
“We buy all the materials and make the lasagnas from scratch,” said Morgan. “I make them with my kids and make sure they are involved. I make sure they know we are giving to people who need help with dinner.”
“It’s pretty awesome to see the family that you are going to be helping and know that they don’t have to worry about their next meal,” Morgan added.
Rhiannon Menn stirred the Lasagna Love movement into existence back in April.
“When the pandemic hit, the first thing that came to mind was, ‘What can I do to help?’” said Menn.
She knew she loved to cook and wanted to help out her community, and it wasn't long before she was baking lasagnas with her daughter to give to her neighbors in need. What started out as seven lasagnas for local families soon turned into a nationwide phenomenon.
“I feel so inspired that there are so many people that want to help," said Menn.
Andria Larson became a Lasagna Mama in May.
“Just last week I hit 400,” said Larson. “There’s another Lasagna Mama, Angela, both of us probably put out 45 or 50 lasagnas every week.”
Volunteers can help with as many families meals as they chose to. They bake the lasagna at home and drop it off at the recipient's door, and while the lasagna is a good place to start, it doesn't have to the only thing on the menu.
“There’s no expectations or commitment, it’s what you can do,” said Morgan.
“This is a way we can help each other,” said Larson. “And what better way than to be able to help someone at their dining room table.”
Click here to sign up to receive a lasagna or to become a Lasagna Mama or Papa.