Mass. Mother Helps Community in Need Amid Pandemic With Specialty Dish

Rhiannon Menn, of Somerville, decided to make her homemade lasagna to help feed neighbors in need

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A Massachusetts wife and mother is combining her knack for cooking with her desire to help families in need amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rhiannon Menn, of Somerville, loves lasagna.

When she decided she wanted to give back by feeding her community, Menn realized lasagna was the perfect dish to do it with.

She enjoys making the dish her daughter, Cimorenec, one of her two toddlers. Their main ingredient is love.

In fact, there's so much love in their lasagna that Menn;s special sauce takes two hours to cook.

"There's something about making a homemade sauce from scratch that just shows… this was made with love for you," she said.

Menn just never thought she'd be making so much of it.

As it turns out, there are a lot of people in need of a home-cooked meal during the pandemic. Many of them also love the classic Italian dish.

That's why Menn decided she would use the meal to feed her neighbors.

"I think like a lot of people, I was feeling helpless about what I could do to help my community," Menn said.

What started as about five meals for strangers back in April has grown into an organization of more than 300 volunteers who have signed up to help Lasagna Love.

Since that time, the group has made over 2,000 batches of the rich, creamy cuisine for their communities.

The dishes are often dropped off on the front porch of recipients with a nice note.

San Diego resident Ana Hernandez, who needed a helping hand after maternity leave a few months ago, says she was so touched by the generosity of the stranger who delivered the meal for her family when they needed it.

"It was the most touching thing ever that people out there are doing something like this," Hernandez said.

She's now a Lasagna Love volunteer chef and now enjoys making lasagnas for strangers with help from her son.

Krissy Nunes is a Lasagna Love volunteer who met Rhiannon for the first time during an interview with NBC10 Boston.

"….just do something smile to make an impact in your community I think, I've always believed that's where real change happens," Nunes said.

She said she uses her grandmother's secret recipe.

"It starts with bacon and there's a lot of wine in it," she said. "It usually simmers all day."

Unfortunately, Rhiannon has made so much lasagna, that her family may be outgrowing it.

"I actually can still eat lasagna. My husband and my children will not touch it now," Menn said laughing.

On the bright side, Lasagna Love has grown to include 13 states in over 50 cities since April.

"I just see this growing to more cities and more places and us just helping more people," Menn said.

Lasagna Love is for anyone who is struggling, whether they've hit tough financial times, are mentally overwhelmed, or a single parent, Menn said.

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