Lasagna Love

Employee and member Ann Lembke with her homemade lasagna

Between the layers of pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce Royal Neighbors employee and member Ann Lembke discovered a way to spread love and comfort to others in her neighborhood.

Ann was looking for a way to increase her volunteerism. As she scrolled through Facebook, she discovered an organization called Lasagna Love. This grassroots organization has a simple process – they pair a home chef with a person who needs a meal in their community.

“I saw it and thought, ‘I can do that,’” explained Ann. “I used to make lasagnas in bulk for my kids’ school. I immediately knew that this would be a great way for me to give back to those in need.”

Ann set a goal for herself: to share one lasagna per month.

“The first one I did was great,” shared Ann. “When I texted the recipient about coordinating the drop off, she replied that she was in the hospital having a baby. Five hours later, she replied that she had the baby, and we coordinated a date. It was very fulfilling to help her. The timing was perfect.”

Driven by the good feeling of helping others, Ann made lasagnas for five people the next time.

“Providing food for someone in your community is the greatest gift,” said Ann. “I can’t sew. I can’t crochet. I can cook.”

To increase the impact she was making, Ann applied for the Royal Neighbors Difference Maker Fund (DMF). “I realized this program would allow me to make more lasagnas and serve more families,” said Ann. “The DMF application process was simple, and in a few weeks, I received a $200 check to support my project.”

Ann used the grant money to purchase meat, sauce, and noodles in bulk, as well as foil, pans, and boxes to deliver the lasagna. DMF allowed Ann to help 15 additional families in her community.

Thanks to help from DMF, Ann is well past her goal to donate one meal a month through Lasagna Love, and she is not stopping.

“Everyone can find something they can do for their community, and this fits me,” said Ann.

To become a volunteer with Lasagna Love, a participant must complete a form on their website. They will ask how often you would like to be matched, and how many miles you are willing to travel to deliver. Then, participants get matched with community members who need meals. To receive a meal, a person can request assistance on the website, or someone can submit a request on their behalf.

“This has taught me that you can’t judge anyone,” said Ann. “Everyone can make a difference, and everyone can use help at times. This is a labor of love.”

Find Ann’s lasagna recipe here.