Am I the only one who feels like 2021 flew by?! It seems like just yesterday I was driving around delivering my first batch of lasagnas, trying to stay helpful by feeding a few families. Now here we are, our first full year as a nonprofit in the books. In this year, Lasagna Love has become so much more than food for people who are struggling.
I’m watching as we change how people think about the idea of “need” and move toward a place of zero-judgement. A few months ago, one of our volunteers shared how she was matched to family with an address in a nice neighborhood, and she paused to wonder why in the world they would need a lasagna delivery. When she connected with the family, she learned their young child was going through cancer treatment and the family was just barely holding on. She said that even in her 40s, she loved that Lasagna Love was challenging her to think differently, and to reserve judgement. I hear stories like this every single week, and they reaffirm my belief in our core values.
I’m delighted as we strive to transform into a world in which asking for help is not just ok, it’s encouraged, because we know that helping each other strengthens our communities. I see all of our local leaders across the country reaching out to their neighbors week after week saying it doesn’t matter why. If you need to raise your hand, we’re here for you! I’m watching as we get messages from families who were afraid, embarrassed, or ashamed to ask for help, but Lasagna Love made it feel like they could. I read these messages, and it tells me we’re having an impact that’s longer lasting than feeding a family for an evening.
I’m humbled as I see lasagna chef after lasagna chef go above and beyond in their communities. One woman started making care packages for her local food bank to pass out; they included necessities and a note about how to request a meal. Another local leader started making traditional Afghan dishes for refugees – specifically unaccompanied minors – coming into her town, so they would feel welcomed and have a piece of home to comfort them. And one regional director drove her RV to Kentucky before the dust had even settled, to support the front-line and families affected by the tornadoes from her kitchen on wheels. And for as many stories as I hear about, I know there are dozens and dozens more happening quietly, because lasagna chefs aren’t here for recognition or for a thank you.
In addition to the stories from our volunteers, we as an organization have accomplished so much in 2021. We expanded to Canada, Australia, and Puerto Rico; we launched a volunteer portal to make matching and delivering easier for our chefs; we partnered with national companies like Rao’s Homemade and LG, who see the impact we’re having and want to be a part of it.
So, what’s next?
In 2022, we’re looking to continue to spread kindness in even more ways. We’ll be expanding to additional countries as well as starting to work with military bases around the globe. We’ll continue thinking about how we can spread kindness outside of the lasagna pan. We’ll be doubling down on how we spread kindness within our own volunteer community. All of this, in addition to reaching at least another half a million people with Lasagna Love, through a minimum of 200,000 lasagnas delivered. We’re so grateful you were with us for the last year, and we’re excited to have you on our journey for this coming year.
Thank you, and here’s to a 2022 full of Lasagna Love and kindness!
In Lasagna Love,