As Lasagna Love reflects on the past year, we are proud of the partnerships we have built and the milestones we have reached. Many thanks to our new and existing volunteers who joined us last year in our mission to feed families, spread kindness, and strengthen communities. We invite you to celebrate all the unforgettable moments we experienced at Lasagna Love and beyond!
Some of our biggest moments of 2023:
HIGHLIGHT #1: HomeChef Throwdown & 2023 Annual Star Chef – Desarae Legros
We are pleased to announce that 2023’s Annual Star Chef is Desarae Legros! Desarae has spearheaded some of Lasagna Love’s most impactful initiatives. Not only is Desarae a committed volunteer Lasagna Chef, but she is also the creator of HomeChef Throwdown, a 6-week cooking competition to spread the word and raise funds for Lasagna Love. Please be on the lookout for a whole blog-post highlighting Desarae’s story. Follow Desarae on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok for cooking tips and a whole lot of laughs!
HIGHLIGHT #2: Rhiannon cooks lasagna with Social Media Chef Trent (@storeboughtisfine) in celebration of Ina Garten’s 75th Birthday
We were lucky enough to team up with Trent (@storeboughtisfine on Instagram) to celebrate Ina Garten’s 75th Birthday. At the beginning of 2022, Trent accomplished his goal of making all of Ina Garten’s recipes that she has produced in her cookbooks and on her shows. Throughout this process, Trent has documented the recipes and shared them with his 55K+ followers on Instagram. The founder of Lasagna Love, Rhiannon Menn, had the opportunity to make a lasagna with Trent to celebrate Ina Garten’s Birthday. Thanks to Trent for this fantastic (and fun!) opportunity to spread the word about Lasagna Love and reach a broader audience. Make sure to follow Trent on Instagram.
HIGHLIGHT #3: Lasagna Love started Star Chef Honoree nominations with our partner RAGÚ
In collaboration with our partner RAGÚ, this summer, we started nominating a “Star Chef” each month. Every month, we choose one volunteer who stands out to us for their incredible commitment to our mission and for serving those in their community with homemade lasagna. Thank you again to RAGÚ for sponsoring Lasagna Love!
Our 2023 winners,
- June: Greg Edwards
- July: Mark Farca
- August: Freddie Pakier
- September: Desarae Legros
- October: Adam Leff
- November: Larry Crane
- December: Darlene Siebel & Sara Cooley
One of our recent Star Chef Winners, Darlene Siebel, has been cooking and delivering lasagnas in her community since April 2021. Darlene is so committed to Lasagna Love that she rarely takes a break, making 2-3 lasagnas every week. This is all possible with help from a special needs individual who loves to help shop for the items and has learned how to make lasagna. Darlene told us, “Lasagna gives us a chance to feed people, and that is what we love to do”.
Sara Cooley has delivered 132 lasagnas to date. Sara’s local leader nominated her because of her commitment to Lasagna Love. Her Local Leader said, “Recently, I have been inundated with new requests, so I put out a plea for help. Sara did not just take a family or two; she mobilized her scout group, who made and delivered 23 lasagnas to a town in our area. I greatly appreciate her, and I would like to see her recognized.”
Sara shared with us her story:
“In March 2020, my husband and I found ourselves without jobs. As we were figuring out plans B, C, and D, members of our church stepped up to help us. After this kind generosity, my family and I promised to give back to others when we had the chance. In November 2021, I saw a Facebook post looking for volunteers to help make homemade lasagna. After researching Lasagna Love, I knew I wanted to help, but I had to learn how to make a lasagna. I started making one lasagna per month but wanted to do more. I asked about our backlog in the Kansas City area and was told there is a huge need in my community. I wanted to find a way to fulfill the needs of my community, so I reached out to local scout groups, 4H, and church groups. Throughout this process, not only did these volunteers help those in need, but we also used this as a learning opportunity. We taught them how to cook lasagna and about food safety when cooking. What I love about Lasagna Love is that there is no judgment when asking for a meal. It takes courage to ask for help; if this meal helps, that is all I could hope for. Thank you for selecting me as a Star Chef; it is truly an honor.
Lasagna Love would not be possible without all our incredible volunteers!
HIGHLIGHT #4: National Lasagna Day, Lasagna Love’s First In-Person Event at Fenway Park
In July, we celebrated National Lasagna Day by hosting our first in-person NLD event at Fenway Park. Just ahead of NLD, nearly 400 Lasagna Love volunteers from across the country came together at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts (in the rain!). We were so excited to have 10 of our volunteers and team members honored on the field for their service and dedication to feeding families and spreading kindness.
We are so grateful to the Red Sox and everyone who made this night possible – including local Boston partners @pegasystems @bankeagle and @healthworksfit – and to each and every one of our 45,000 volunteers who have turned one woman’s idea into a powerful international movement. We never expected this moment, and we are honored beyond words.
HIGHLIGHT #5: New Executive Director, Andria Larson
“It’s an exciting time to be a member of our close-knit community and one that has brought smiles and warmth to hundreds of thousands of people. I look forward to carrying the torch forward.”
HIGHLIGHT #6: New Chief of Staff, Stephanie Stocum
“I’m grateful to work with our dedicated volunteers every day. They show their hearts on their sleeves and get the job done. There are hundreds of you that are working behind the scenes so we can continue to spread kindness. We see you and appreciate all of your efforts.”
HIGHLIGHT #7: Awarded Popeye’s Foundation Grant
Our partnership with the Popeyes Foundation brings more love to communities, one lasagna at a time! Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to their generous donation of over $14,000. These funds have contributed to spreading the word about Lasagna Love. A donation like this is more than just money; it reflects hope, a sign of community, a sign of partnership – all coming together to help families in not just one but FOUR communities: Fresno, CA; Lake Charles, LA; Grand Rapids, MI and Tampa, FL.
We are excited to continue spreading kindness one delivery at a time. In the new year, even more delicious, warm, and comforting lasagnas will be made and scheduled, with love and a sprinkle of that neighborly spirit that makes us all feel like family.
A massive THANK YOU to the Popeyes Foundation for believing in our mission and your commitment to making a difference. Their support is not just providing meals; it’s changing lives!
In 2024, we are set for an exciting year of growth and innovation. Key priorities include maximizing volunteer engagement, raising essential funds, and strengthening the organization’s unique experience for everyone in our Lasagna Love family. We plan to expand the team and focus on reducing waiting times for meal requests. E-commerce will see improvements, and they aim to increase sales and brand awareness. Partnerships with bloggers, influencers, and major brands are a top focus, with sustainability in mind. Lasagna Love is committed to promoting kindness and community sustainability while empowering volunteers and emphasizing innovation. Thought Leadership will play a key component in a thriving 2024. We are seeing glimmers of really great things happening and are excited for #MoreIn2024.