By Breana Pitts

SOMERVILLE (CBS) – A mother in Somerville is spreading love and lasagna during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rhiannon Menn said she was feeling pretty helpless and unsure of how to help when the stay-at-home order began in March. The mom of two, who loves cooking, decided to make a few lasagnas with her kids to pass out to struggling families.

“Lasagna is a comfort food. There’s something about it that’s like, this was made from my heart with love, it’s my family’s recipe and I want to share that love with you,” Menn explained to WBZ-TV.

Menn began posting on mom groups on Facebook, cooking and delivering to families who reached out. As time went on, other mothers began messaging Menn wanting to join in on her effort. In fact, so many joined that group of women began calling themselves the Lasagna Mamas.

“What started as my toddler and I making seven meals that first week has become 100 volunteers across the country and we’ve delivered almost 1,000 meals,” Menn said.

In the hard-hit community of East Boston there are 11 Lasagna Mamas and other chapters have started in Iowa, California, Texas and Arizona.

“I was just happy that we could help the families in my own neighborhood. If you would have asked me 3 months ago if I would be sitting here managing a network of 100 volunteers and delivering and making lasagnas I would have told you you are crazy,” Menn told WBZ.

Lasagna Mamas don’t just cook for families affected by coronavirus. Menn says they recently delivered a meal to an East Boston mom who is 6 months pregnant and recovering from the virus, as well as a mom who suddenly lost her daughter to cancer. The group is also aiming to reduce food insecurity for local families.

Rhiannon Menn and her daughter work on lasagnas at their home in Somerville. (Image credit: Rhiannon Menn)

“The number of kids facing food insecurity has gone through the roof since the pandemic started and there are families that have never had to ask for help before that are now having to find help and it’s so hard for them to ask. I can’t tell you how many messages I get that start with something like ‘I’m embarrassed’ or ‘This is really hard for me to do’ or ‘I’ve never had to do this before,’ to be able to say we’re here for you and we want to help, that’s really powerful right now,” Menn said.

To sign up to receive a lasagna or to become a volunteer visit begoodtomama.com. Menn says there are a few Lasagna Papas in the group as well.

Breana Pitts

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