Category Archives: kindness

lasagna love.

Standard

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

“those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”-jmb

Standard

a call came from a director

who had worked with my grandson

on an entertainment project

he and his crew were in town

to shoot a pilot for a new show

the idea is to surprise someone

but instead of pranking them

it’s focus is on thanking them

he was looking for locals to help with the show

those who know ‘afternoon delight’

a local breakfast/lunch spot

not fancy, with great food

an unchanged part of this town for many years

the surprise was to be for walter

a local, humble, and very deserving gentleman

who has worked there for 40+ years and refuses to retire

he lives without a phone

(the farmers at the market let him use theirs when he needs one)

he lives without a car

(the local pedi-cab guy gives him rides to work and whenever he needs one)

he’s never been on a plane or boat

he lives alone with his many plants

his family is the restaurant crew and all who pass through the doors

he shows up every single day, works hard, and is unfailingly kind to everyone

but his presence is so much more than that

he has touched so many lives over the years and in so many ways

after keeping walter at home a bit longer than usual

 worrying about being needed at work

everything was finally ready

the moment he walked in

he looked teary

saying, “i can’t believe my eyes”

with the sweetest smile

he thanked everyone for coming

and was told

“walter, we are here to thank you!”

for impacting the town and the people

he had a chance to talk to every person

as we each presented him with a plant and our story

he had walked one down the aisle

when she was a waitress there and didn’t have a father

the pedi-cab driver had worked there too

some had worked with him for many years

or had been coming in for many years

and one after another

each person thanked him

multiple generations had eaten there

and he listened and he smiled and he thanked them

for being such an important part of his life

 when he sat in the booth that now has his name on it forever

he told his stories

how things had changed over the years but stayed the same

how life had been hard at times but was so thankful for everything

when he first started it was bob dylan and joan baez stopping by after a concert

 each era brought new music and new people

along with people who continued to come in over and over

bringing children and grandchildren

while the food is very good

walter is what makes the difference

why people keep coming

as we said our goodbyes

walter climbed into the pedi-cab,

now with bubbles flowing, music playing, for a ride around town

his town

to celebrate his special day

before coming back to his other home

the restaurant

as i walked back to my car

someone saw my t-shirt

stopped his car and asked:

“is that for walter from afternoon delight?”

when i said it was

he told me he owns a nearby deli

 whenever he sees walter making his way down the street

he makes walter’s favorite sandwich for him

walter is a treasured family member to everyone lucky enough to meet him.

“there is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter.

we sometimes lose sight of this…

then suddenly the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people,

who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”

-sir richard attenborough

sweet.

Standard

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

this time.

Standard

even though

it’s mid-april

and the skies

delivered snow today

i thought back to a few days ago

when just like today

i had my sandals on

and came upon

a mother and child

in the sun

taking time

to create art

with simple and happy words

‘have a nice day’

for anyone in the neighborhood

who may come by

needing this message.

“this time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”

-ralph waldo emerson

magic spell.

Standard

 “expecto petronum”

“dear miss kennedy, i know this spell. if you do that magic it just keeps you safe from stuff if you are in danger.”

– from my student, l.

one of kindest and most wonderful gifts i’ve ever received 

“kindness is a magical spell –

performed by enlightened beings –

meant to enchant hearts and lift weary souls that they might fly.”

-richelle e. goodrich

a gift.

Standard

when someone in our class

got injured while playing outside

the kinder quickly sprang into action

creating art and cards for their friend

23 pieces of art from 14 children

given to her to know she was cared about

 a quiet smile was her gift back to them. 

 —

“making art is like giving a gift: evidence of your spirit and that you are here.”

– paddy mitchell

moved.

Standard

today a ladybug stopped by our classroom veterinary clinic

the kinder docs looked at it closely with a magnifying glass

 decided it might be having trouble flying

after much discussion, more close looks, a few notes on a paper, a phone call,

and a blood pressure check of one of the other docs

 their good care and magic worked

and the ladybug flew away home.

“true compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.”

-daniel goleman

still standing.

Standard

The lighter penguin is an elderly female whose partner died this year. The darker one is a younger male who lost his partner two years ago. Biologists have followed them as they meet every night to comfort each other. They stand for hours together watching the lights in Melbourne. Photographer Tobias Baumgaertner captured this image of two widowed fairy penguins looking over the Melbourne skyline. It has won an award in Oceanographic magazine’s Ocean Photography Awards 2020.

“at the end of the day, the ones who really matter

will be the ones standing next to you watching the sun set

and assuring you that it will rise again in the morning.”

-ash sweeney

 

 

 

 

story credit: natureblowsmymind

simple gifts.

Standard

 carried from home to school

clutched in chubby hand

  tiny simple gift

brings precious beauty 

to a teacher’s heart.

 

“sometimes, said pooh, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

-a.a. milne – winnie the pooh