HOLYOKE — Employees at MiraVista Behavioral Health Center are marking this Valentine’s Day by partnering with the Massachusetts chapter of Lasagna Love to make and deliver homemade meals to families in the Greater Holyoke and Springfield area.
“Lasagna Love volunteers provide a meal to a family in need for whatever reason in their communities,” said Kimberley Lee, MiraVista’s chief of Creative Strategy and Development.
Employees elected to partner with this nonprofit, and those who can will spend two hours in MiraVista’s kitchen today, Feb. 13, with Paula Dalzovo, MiraVista’s Food Service director, making pans of lasagna that will be delivered to families who request such help from Lasagna Love.
Lee noted that Lasagna Love’s caring mission resonated with MiraVista’s staff, who help adults and adolescents live their best lives.
Lasagna Love began with the vision of Rhiannon Menn. A mother and an MIT Sloan graduate with Berkshire County ties, Menn wanted to comfort families struggling during the pandemic and, based on what she had on hand, decided to offer a hot lasagna to anyone who wanted one through a neighborhood Facebook group.
Four years later, Lasagna Love is a nonprofit with chapters across the U.S., as well as in Australia and Canada, and is estimated to have impacted 1.6 million lives through its network exceeding 48,000 volunteers.
“We are up to 31,000 lasagnas, feeding 120,000 people in the last three years in Massachusetts and still second to only California in the program’s reach,” said Andrea Scullin, Lasagna Love’s volunteer regional director for Massachusetts and New York. “People love helping people and take food insecurity seriously when they read someone just had a baby and is experiencing postpartum depression or has lost their job or is dealing with being overwhelmed. We can put each other in those shoes because, just as easily, this could be us.”
The volunteers who make a meal deliver it to the doorstep of a recipient provided by Lasagna Love and usually do so without meeting the recipient, instead alerting them by text to its arrival.
“People are appreciative, and the contactless delivery reduces any stigma of asking for help,” Scullin said.
To volunteer for Lasagna Love, request a meal, or learn more, visit lasagnalove.org.