Category Archives: action

lasagna love.

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The Nonprofit Spreading Kindness One Lasagna at a Time: “We Have the Power to Shift Communities” 

Food is more than a simple snack or meal: It symbolizes comfort, connection, and care, and we’ve been using it to nurture social relationships since at least the Bronze Age. So when Rhiannon Menn found herself yearning to make an impact as the COVID-19 pandemic caused layoffs, school closures, and illnesses, she started cooking.

“I just thought, well, what do I love to do? And what do I know how to do? And for me, that’s cooking; it’s my happy place,” the mother of three told Nice News. In March of 2020, Menn began making extra pans of lasagna, then got on Facebook, found a few “mom groups” in the San Diego area, and offered to drop them off to anyone in need. She delivered seven meals her first week and quickly began getting messages from other people inspired to help. “All of a sudden I found myself managing this network of amazing volunteers who all wanted to feed people in their community,” Menn said.

Just over two years later, Lasagna Love has become a registered nonprofit with over 35,000 volunteers — or “Lasagna Chefs” as they are called — in all 50 states, as well as Canada and Australia. Altogether, they’ve delivered more than 250,000 lasagnas, feeding over one million people in total. The organization has been featured on Good Morning America and The Kelly Clarkson Show. And Menn believes it’s all a testament to how many people are looking for an outlet to show kindness and help others.

Lasagna chefs are matched with families based on distance and dietary restrictions. Once a match is made, all communication occurs directly between those two people. “We do feed families, and that’s important, but really what we’re doing is spreading kindness and strengthening communities, and it’s through those one-on-one bonds that it moves the needle on connectedness,” said Menn.

And there are no eligibility requirements to request a meal or nominate a family. One of the nonprofit’s core values is zero judgment. “We can’t say what needing help looks like,” Menn said, “only you, as a recipient, know what it means to need help”

Virginia resident Jan Delucien, who experienced a traumatic brain injury that left her unable to work, requested a lasagna after hearing about the organization in a support group. For the 64-year-old, the smiling volunteer handing her a home-cooked dish at her door meant much more than just a free meal. “It really was a gift of love,” Delucien told the AP through tears.

According to Menn, when asked if they felt inspired to pay the act of kindness forward, 97% of Lasagna Love meal recipients said they did, and a quarter responded that they already had. “I deliver a lasagna to you, and then you’re inspired to go donate a bag of clothes, or maybe share the meal with somebody, or maybe volunteer at the local animal shelter. So, all of a sudden, those million people that were fed — how many acts does that actually result in? And that’s where we have the power to really shift communities,” she said.

The founder hopes that one day the world won’t need Lasagna Love anymore and that people will help each other entirely organically. But until then, Menn and her team will keep spreading kindness one lasagna at a time.

“no matter what you’re going through in life, eat first.”

-wordporn

 

credit: rebecca brandes

“photography is telling stories.” – jim spillane

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attending the annual ann arbor art fair

i had great luck and the honor of meeting

photographer/human rights advocate, jim spillane.

i happened by his stall

drawn in by the beauty and subjects of his photographs

especially taken with his pictures of children

after much thought

finally decided on one

a young tibetan child

tiny hands held together in hello.

i asked jim his story

how he had come to take these stunning pictures all over the world.

once a criminal defense attorney in the gerald ford white house

representing vietnam war draft resisters seeking amnesty

he got sick, had a horrible experience

 changed his life

trained with an ansel adams associate

began traveling the world

taking photographs of people

his subject is the human condition and the connections and responsibilities we have for each other.

using his pictures as a way to create interest, open discussion, communicate, call attention to a cause

he has worked taking photographs of workers at a nepalese brick factory for many years

created a photo book of the workers

to speak out and to tell their stories with his photographs

still seeking to help those in need and to be an effective advocate for them.

he is a natural artist, storyteller, teacher, advocate, and man.

“in recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”

-thurgood marshall, former justice of supreme court of the united states

link to his website: jimspillane.com

link to his book, ‘the face of bricks’: https://www.blurb.com/b/9897011-the-face-of-bricks

sweet.

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sweet delivery

people helping in the community just because

 

From the Humane Society:

The sweet and thoughtful Washtenaw Dairy drove up to HSHV today with pup cups for all the dogs!! They’d heard that we have a FULL shelter and brought enough for all the dogs to enjoy a cold treat on this hot day. Not to mention bringing donuts for the humans at HSHV! What a wonderful surprise, thank you Washtenaw Dairy 

Response from the Dairy:

Every day is a fun day working at Washtenaw Dairy but today was extra cool! Thanks so much to HSHV for allowing us to pop in today and treat all the dogs at the shelter with pup cups. We are excited to see these sweet dogs find their Forever homes! Their shelters are full right now. A lot of Covid puppies coming back.We wanted to do some thing to showcase their Empty the Shelter event and spoil all the pups that were there.

Thank you for all you do for all the animals in our community!

“no single act of generosity remains in isolation. the ripples are many.” 

―sarah winman, author

 credits: huron valley humane society, washtenaw dairy

peace by chocolate on valentine’s day and every day.

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This is a true and incredible human story, of a refugee family losing everything, leaving their home, and finding a new home and new life in an unexpected place and in unexpected ways. I’ve been following their story since their arrival in Canada and they are a wonderful example of will, grit, tenacity, family, compassion, overcoming odds, and a sheer refusal to give up. They are paying it forward by giving back to the people in their new community and beyond. Supporting those who welcomed them and may need the help that they so generously received when they were in desperate need. Plus, their chocolate in incredible.

So exciting!

We are so happy to announce that the movie based on our story, Peace by Chocolate – The Film is coming to theatres, exclusively at Cineplex across Canada on May 6th and the official trailer of the movie was finally released. This movie is a platform to share hope with Canadians and the world -something we all need more than anything these days. See you all at the theatres this spring. (no date yet for u.s. or international openings)

“generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do,

but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.”

-khalil gibran

thirty one cents. (and lots of interest due)

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many years ago

way back in first grade

i took thirty one cents

from hillman bailey III’s open desk

it was a matter of greed and opportunity

that spurred me on

i was really wanting candy from the store

 sitting right in front of me

there appeared thirty one cents

almost dropping in my lap

i would repay hillman one day

when i got a job

at least this is all what i told myself

when i bought candy at the store

with my windfall

it didn’t taste as good as i expected

 feeling lousy inside

i never told hillman

never made any attempt to make the situation right

but over the years i’ve thought about it

from time to time

 today when paying cash at the grocery store

 thirty one cents

dropped into the change slot

 left it for the next person

maybe they had a child who wanted candy

 silently said i was sorry

donated it back into the universe

on behalf of hillman bailey III

trying to make good on my word.

“guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.”

-erma bombeck

today’s the day.

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my spirit animal
Last year, five animal candidates vied for the much sought-after title of Mayor of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. This important election decided the Zoo’s first Mayor, the highest-ranking animal official who showcased the important role of animal ambassadors. One of the five candidates, (and my favorite), who made it past the primary rounds to the general election was:

Peaches the Nigerian dwarf goat. Peaches is the mother of two sets of triplets and a set of twins. She has raised all the kids on her own, demonstrating her can-do spirit. She’s quiet and friendly unless she needs to assert herself and is rarely in a baaaaad mood.

P.S. Wiggles the Chinchilla got the most votes and won by a hair. 

“not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender.”

-keith ellison

 

 credit: lisa clair, hamlet hub