The Gig Harbor, Washington resident used her $1,200 stimulus check to kick-off the comfort food movement.

By Katlyn Moncada
Updated June 30, 2020
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Courtesy of Michelle Brenner

Furloughed from her retail job due to the coronavirus pandemic, Michelle Brenner was helping deliver groceries and prescriptions to her neighbors in Gig Harbor, Washington, when she noticed a recurring item in the orders: frozen lasagna. As someone with Sicilian family roots, she's not a huge fan of frozen lasagna (or really any pre-frozen meals for that matter). One evening after delivering yet another frozen lasagna, she posted a message to her community Facebook page saying, "You have a die-hard Italian living in your town who loves lasagna, and if anybody needs one or wants one, I'd love to make you one and I'll even deliver it for free." So many people took her up on the kind offer, Brenner wound up spending her entire $1,200 stimulus check to buy ingredients to make fresh, homemade lasagnas to be dropped off (uncooked) on porches across her community. Four weeks in and 400 lasagnas later, Brenner became known as "The Lasagna Lady" around town.

The requests are still flooding in. Luckily, Brenner was able to move her one-woman operation to a donated commercial kitchen space about five weeks ago after the president of Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club heard about her generous act. Plus, the Lasagna Lady has already received $23,000 in monetary donations to date. Even Stouffer's (one of the main brands of the frozen lasagnas that inspired Brenner to start this project) is stepping in to help her give back to the community. She doesn't have an end in sight yet, but says she hopes to be able to feed 50,000 people delicious lasagna.

Michelle Brenner's homemade lasagna recipe features a cheese sauce inspired by her Italian grandmother.
Courtesy of Michelle Brenner

Working 90 days (up to 14 hours per day!) in a row before taking a day off, Brenner kept going because she knew the love she put into each lasagna could help another individual and their family. Brenner says it's truly become not just a food movement, but a community movement of people bonding and connecting (even if not in person) through the love of lasagna.

"I don't feel like I've done anything but what I should have done," she says. "I'm just the person to be honored to do this and be a part of it by making lasagnas. It's my community and all the people that continue to evolve this journey."

You can help the Lasagna Lady continue feeding her community by donating to the fundraiser on Facebook.

This Story Originally Appeared On bhg

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