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Balancing Act: Free lasagnas may not cure all ills, but they go a long way during a pandemic

By Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Lifestyles

Marci Sieracki is a certified public accountant with 8- and 5-year-old daughters e-learning at home and, lately, a couple of lasagnas in the oven.

Back in September, Sieracki saw a Facebook post about Lasagna Love, a national movement founded by San Diego mom Rhiannon Menn. It works like this: People who've been affected by the coronavirus pandemic (so, everyone) can go to lasagnalove.org/request and request a free, homemade lasagna to be delivered to their home or workplace. ("Lost income, lost childcare, lost sanity — we're here to help," the website states.)

People who want to bake and deliver those lasagnas can go to lasagnalove.org/lasagnamama and sign up for a shift or two — or 20.

Sieracki fell into the latter category, baking lasagnas and arranging contactless deliveries to grateful families around Chicago within days of seeing that first Facebook post.

"Right away I thought, 'I need to do this,'" Sieracki said. "Food has always been my love language, so the thought of spreading kindness through food felt right to me."

Soon enough she found herself taking over regional leader duties, overseeing the volunteer efforts for all of Chicago and the northern suburbs from her Roscoe Village home. She has baked or helped arrange the delivery of about 250 lasagnas in two months, she estimates.

 

Next week alone she has arranged for 132 lasagnas to be delivered to homes around Chicago and the suburbs.

"It's been so awesome to see how much these communities really care about each other," she said. "It's blown me away."

Much of her time is spent on outreach — contacting social workers and local food pantries to locate families in need, posting about Lasagna Love in various neighborhood Facebook groups, asking folks she knows to spread the word.

"It's really helped me, mentally, during a time when so many things feel out of control," she said.

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