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What The World Needs Now is a Little Lasagna Love: Local Nonprofit Provides Meals to Central Florida Families in Need

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Photo: Angele Kamp

Families in need of a free, home cooked meal during the pandemic because of a COVID-illness or related financial hardship can text Lasagna Love. 

The nonprofit connects volunteers called Lasagna Mamas and Papas with these families to provide them with lasagnas that they drop off at their home.

WMFE spoke with Regional Director Amy Carson and Lasagna Mama Dr. Stefanie Shames about why the demand is so great for this service. 

Read the full interview below. 

Danielle: So Amy, I want to start with you. Tell me a little bit about the work that Lasagna Love does here in the Central Florida area, I know you kind of coordinate all of that work.

Amy: Our focus is primarily on families. So families that are struggling in all kinds of ways. It could be financial struggle, it could be just overwhelmed, you know, being in a pandemic and working full time from home while also managing kids being home and learning online all the time.

It can be a lot to juggle.

And so Lasagna Love is here to provide a home cooked meal made with love for those neighbors who could use a little extra support.

Danielle: And Stefanie, I know you’re a Lasagna Mama, which means you actually, you know, kind of take the lasagna to these families. How does that all work if someone’s interested in signing up?

Stefanie: I registered on lasagnalove.org. And then I am matched each week with families in my area to make the lasagnas for.

So I get notified on Tuesdays about the families I’ve been assigned. And then I make sure I have all of my ingredients and I deliver sometime by Sunday to the family.

Actually, one of my very first ones was an extended family and the children, the adult children with their children moved in with the parent. So there were three generations in the home. And the daughter was the only one working. So the mom just asked for a meal just to kind of give her daughter a break.

So I brought the lasagnas and sometimes I add on things besides the lasagna.

And I had a response back that not only did their family enjoy it, they invited in the elderly neighbor and shared with him. And I just thought that was so nice. For people that really didn’t have to share with others.

Danielle: Wow, that’s such a beautiful story especially you know, around the holiday season. Amy what’s the demand been like for these lasagnas kind of throughout your region? And tell me a little bit about how people can help?

Amy: We have made over 50 deliveries in Orlando alone and over 200 in Central Florida. Demand you know it’s certainly not decreasing I’ll tell you that. Unfortunately we have a lot of families who are struggling right now.

And so as far as helping, we are open for more volunteers to join us. We welcome new Lasagna Mamas and Papas anytime, and all you have to do is go to our website lasagnalove.org.

Danielle: And Stefanie, a very important last question, any tips or any secrets you want to share for a good lasagna?

Stefanie: Well, I make vegetarian lasagna actually.

So the best tip I have is to hide those vegetables in there so nobody knows. So I do cut them up very small in my food processor and blend in a lot of cheese and sauce.

And I’ve had, I had a parent write to me who was concerned that her child wouldn’t eat it saying her son said this was the best thing he ever ate and wanted to even have it for breakfast.

Lasagna Mama Dr. Stefanie Shames’ lasagna box. Photo: Danielle Prieur

Listen to the full conversation, by clicking on the clip at the top of the page.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »