“Bringing someone a home-cooked meal is intimate; it’s something you do for ones you love,” says Amy Simmons, one of the three founding “lasagna mamas” of Lasagna Love’s North Kingstown chapter. The idea to give back to the community with aluminum trays of warm, cheesy pasta came to Kimberly St. Onge during an insomnia-induced bout of midnight scrolling during early pandemic times – she wanted to find a way to help those who were sick, stressed, or facing food insecurity and found it in the form of Lasagna Love.
“We make the lasagna, or a baked ziti if they prefer, and deliver it with love. There are meat lasagnas, veggie lasagnas, gluten-free, etc.,” St. Onge explains. Along with Simmons and Katrina Delicato, St. Onge matches nominated families in need of a lasagna with a neighbor – whether it’s the three of them or others involved in the organization – to cook it. Community members donate ingredients. Sauce from Catanzaro’s Food Products and bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. help keep the pasta train going.
“Coming from a huge Italian family, this was a no brainer,” says Delicato. “I started making lasagna with my grandmother at the age of six. It was a staple for our family. Sunday dinner and holidays always had a lasagna.”
Though requests were frequent during lockdown last year, this summer saw a decline. “I think sometimes people think they shouldn’t ask for help if they don’t need it financially, but need comes in all different forms,” says Simmons. “We deliver to many families who are stressed from caring for sick or elderly family members, we have parents who are working late hours, we have individuals who live alone, who just really appreciate that someone is willing to cook for them.”
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