Talk about layers of love.
Volunteer chefs are preparing and delivering more than 100 lasagnas to Gothami residents who could use some carbs and care this Thanksgiving.
“We want to provide New Yorkers in need with a lasagna that can comfort them, no matter what their situation,” Madeline Young, a 27-year-old who led the effort that will feed about 500 people, told The Post.
The Brooklyn native, who calls herself a “lasagna mom,” is the manager of the Manhattan branch of Lasagna Love, a nationwide network of volunteers who cook and deliver the home-cooked meals to those in need, paying for the ingredients out of their own pocket.
Individuals can Request the hearty meal through the Lasagna Love website, where they are matched with volunteers in the area.
“Neighbors can deliver to neighbors, anyone can participate in any capacity,” Young told The Post.
Young has been hard at work in the kitchen himself over the last few days, whipping up several cheesy vegetarian renditions using grated zucchini, ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella. She personalizes each dish with a note for the recipients.
“Something I really like to do is make a design with hearts on the lasagna – I usually do some shredded basil, tomato hearts and a printed message that says, ‘From our family to yours.’ We want them to be it makes them feel loved,” Young said.
Volunteers are involved to ensure food safety Instructions given based on FDA food safety guidelines and ServSafe certifications. They are advised to wear long hair up, wash their hands before handling food and after touching raw meat, and wash vegetables thoroughly. There are also cross-contamination guidelines, e.g. B. using a different cutting board, knife and other utensils for raw meat and vegetables. Since the food is not sold, it is not subject to any formal regulations.
“Our receiving neighbors sign a waiver acknowledging that the meal offered to them is a donation,” Young said.
Those who receive the casseroles often need the feeling of being cared for and fed.
Young recalled a recent heartfelt exchange with a grateful, terminally ill mother living with her children in the Bronx who had asked for a meal earlier this month.
“We get some recipients who write back and say how much the lasagna means to them. “This one woman was recently very sick and couldn’t cook for herself, and this helped her – she wasn’t able to prepare a meal for her family,” Young said.
Another on the receiving end, Shariea Perry, 52, a registered nurse and mother of four from the Bronx, discovered Lasagna Love in August while searching online for help with eating.
Since her husband was out of town at the time and she was grieving the death of her parents, cooking seemed impossible.
“I was going through grief and loss, was at home with my children and had very little money. I googled “pantry” and came across “lasagna love.” I went on Facebook and said, ‘Wow, this is beautiful,’ and made a request,” Perry told the Post that he worked with a volunteer chef who delivered two pans of lasagna with brownies.
“It was very special. When you’re going through tough times and there’s a lot going on, you want to make sure your kids have a hot meal,” she said. “It was a help and a blessing to me.”
Perry is so grateful for Lasagna Love that she and her 17- and 19-year-old daughters have returned the love by volunteering to cook and deliver to others in need.
Even little chefs roll up their sleeves. Girl Scout Troop 1221 — girls ages six to 10 — learned how to make lasagna for their neighbors last week in the Sound View neighborhood of the Bronx. Families in need will pick up starting Monday.
“The girls learned step by step how to layer the lasagna, put down the noodles and mix in the ricotta cheese for four area families,” Marissa Mann, 21, a speech pathologist and co-troop leader, told The Post.
Lasagna Love was launched in New England in 2020 by Rhiannon Menn to combat food insecurity. Thanks to 48,000 volunteers, more than 400,000 lasagnas were delivered worldwide today. according to the group’s website.
“We don’t just deliver a meal. We provide something comforting,” Young said.
“We want people to feel that love and kindness. That’s really important to me.”