Forsyth County volunteers help those in need with Lasagna Love
(Forsyth County, GA) In early 2020, Lynn Cohen Hirsch and her husband had just moved to Alpharetta to be closer to their grandchildren. They were looking forward to getting out and exploring their new community but hadn’t really met anyone in the area yet.
Then the pandemic hit.
Unable to see her family, get to know her neighbors, or even get out and about, Lynn was temporarily at a loss. But then, on September 28, 2020, Lynn saw a Today show segment about Lasagna Love, a charity that provides free hot meals, and inspiration struck.
“It saved my life during the pandemic,” said Hirsch. “I knew that was what my purpose was going to be.”
Hirsch got involved with Lasagna Love right away, first by making and delivering meals, and then by doing media outreach. Soon, she was in charge of media outreach for all of Georgia. Now, Hirsch is the Outreach Director for all of Lasagna Love, which has grown into an “international movement of kindness.”
Lasagna Love’s beginnings
Rhiannon Menn, a chef, mother, and MIT graduate, felt a sense of helplessness as she saw the COVID-19 pandemic tear through her San Diego community. She started Lasagna Love as a simple way to provide hot meals to neighbors who were struggling.
“It was a very organic start,” shared Hirsch.
In the first month, Lasagna Love volunteers delivered 100 free lasagnas. After the Today show segment, the charity grew to a network of 5,000 volunteers. To date, over 35,000 Lasagna Love volunteers have delivered 250,000 meals to over one million people across the world.
How it works
Lasagna Love’s success is partially due to its online platform, which connects neighbors to provide local meal deliveries. People can go to the Lasagna Love website and request a meal – no questions asked and no judgments made. Each individual or family can request one free meal per month.
“The needs are not only financial,” said Hirsch. Lasagna Love volunteers may make meals for new moms, people dealing with illness, or even stressed parents working multiple jobs who just need a helping hand.
“It’s not just providing the food, it’s the kindness,” said Hirsch.
Those who want to volunteer with Lasagna Love can also sign up easily online. You can choose how often you deliver a meal and how many families you want to feed. You can also set a radius for how far you are willing to drive.
“Your personal information is never shared with the recipients,” explained Hirsch. Everything is managed through Lasagna Love’s online portal, which optimizes matches between volunteers and recipients each week. Local leaders notify volunteers so they can correspond with their recipients about a time to drop off the meal. All deliveries are contactless.
“No, it doesn’t have to be lasagna,” Hirsch laughed. Lasagna Love volunteers make all kinds of hot meals and always try to accommodate cultural or dietary restrictions. Many volunteers simply double the recipe they plan to make for their own families and deliver the extra portion.
If you are interested in volunteering but need some inspiration, you can check out Hirsch’s own Instagram account, Lasagna Art With Heart. She regularly shares helpful and time-saving lasagna-making tips and shows off beautifully and creatively decorated lasagnas that she has made and donated.
Lasagna Love in Forsyth County
Lasagna Love has volunteers worldwide, but because of Hirsch’s early involvement, there are many recipients and volunteers right here in Forsyth County.
“We have a lot of chefs in Georgia, but not enough,” shared Hirsch. “It’s a very welcoming group.”
Lasagna Love partners with local organizations like Family Promise, The Drake House, and the Elizabeth Foundation to provide hot meals. Volunteers also serve some veterans groups and feed workers at charity events, like the upcoming American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life on September 9.
Seeing how the simple act of sharing a meal and caring for those in need helped lift Hirsch through the pandemic and continues to inspire her today. “Lasagna feeds the body and the soul – it’s a real comfort food,” she said.
Do you know of a Forsyth County charity or volunteer who deserves the spotlight? Comment below or email email@example.com to let us know.