A Washington state woman who lost her job during the pandemic has fulfilled her spare time – and then some – by cooking pans and pans of lasagna for those in need.
Michelle Brenner, 45, was fired from the menswear shop where she works when COVID-19 closed stores in the United States, so she quickly started performing groceries in her town of Gig Harbor.
But when she discovered an older man who hadn’t had a home-cooked meal in weeks, she was inspired – and since June 26, she has made over 1,275 pans of lasagna for the elderly, first responders, neighbors, people who are afraid to go out, and others who need a good meal.
Troubled Times: Michelle Brenner, 45, was fired from the menswear shop where she works when COVID-19 shut down US retail
Busy: As of June 26, she has made over 1,275 pans of lasagna for the elderly, first responders, neighbors, those who are afraid to go out and others who need a good meal
When she lost her job, Michelle hired a new shopper for the delivery app Instacart.
She soon noticed that a lot of people were asking for frozen lasagne from stores, including a man in his 90s who told her he hadn’t eaten fresh food for a month and a half.
Frozen lasagna is not a treat. I am not a fan of frozen lasagna. I am very Italian, ”she said CNN.
Wanting to do something fun for the man, she went back to the supermarket and bought ingredients for a homemade lasagna according to her grandmother’s old recipe.
After delivering it, she decided to offer her tasty Italian cuisine to others.
There was panic in my area and I felt it was my duty to help, ”she said Today.
“I knew it was my time in my life to give back to the people who paved the way for me to have the 45 years of my life,” she added CNN.
How it started: She started working for Instacart when she delivered to an older man who admitted he hadn’t had fresh food in weeks – so she made him a lasagna
Yum! She posted about it online and asked if she could make one for someone else – and the requests came in, so she went to cook
Give: Soon people started donating to help cover the cost of food – but she made the first purchases with her stimulus check and cooks herself
So she shared the lasagna on Facebook, writing that she would make one for anyone in need.
Requests came in, and Michelle went back to the grocery store and spent her $ 1,200 incentive on lasagna ingredients.
The whole point of this is to spread that sense of community wherever we can through the comfort of lasagna. So I don’t want anyone to feel excluded because the reality is there are people who can’t afford a dollar, “she said.
Soon she worked eight to fourteen hours a day cooking, making all the lasagna herself.
She eventually got enough attention that others wanted to bring in.
First, Gig Harbor Sportsman’s club invited her to use their commercial kitchen, where she could cook more lasagnas.
“It’s a lot easier to have the bigger space where I can actually bake more – I’ve done an average of 15 to 25 lasagnas a day,” she said Good morning America.
She delivers food to first responders and has also given to people who are afraid to leave their homes, the elderly, a people with little money for food
“People say they can taste the love I put in the layers and it gives them comfort,” she said
And while cooking is a solo project, others have paid cash to buy supplies, with fundraisers raising $ 23,000.
Michelle has enjoyed the fruits of her work and knows exactly who she is helping. She said that a man to whom she delivered lasagna had lost both his son and his father to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, another family cried when she dropped lasagna and other treats over Easter, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to celebrate.
“People say they can taste the love I put in the layers and it gives them comfort,” she told Today.
“I made lasagna for 90 days straight without a day off and it never felt like a job to me. I always wanted to be there, ”she added.
“I healed myself by getting to know my community. I fixed things (in myself) that I couldn’t have paid to a doctor or therapist. I just feel so happy with the experience. ‘