The Lasagna Love founder started this grassroots movement of helping neighbors by delivering food during the pandemic. Three years later, Rhiannon is still passionate about kindness and Lasagna Love is now a nationwide force with over 35000 volunteers helping over 1 million individuals.
Alison: Hi, Jean.
Jean: Hi Alison… You’re so funny.
Alison: Am I?
Jean: Yeah, you are. I love doing these with you.
Alison: I love doing them with you too. And today speaks to my heart because today we’re talking about lasagna.
Jean: Yes. I love lasagna. I love it.
Alison: And it’s got all those A’s in it. It’s perfect.
Jean: We get to speak with Rhiannon Menn.
Alison: She is the founder of the Lasagna Love Initiative. She just started making a tray of lasagna with her little daughter and giving it to neighbors. And it has become a huge national movement.
Jean: Yeah, she’s been on shows like Good Morning America, Kelly Clarkson…
Alison: Right. I think The Today show, too, everything. It’s been amazing how this has taken off and she is the most down to earth person.
Jean: She’s beautiful inside and out. And I just want to give a shout out to my friend Lynn Hirsch, who is one of the Lasagna Love volunteers over in Atlanta.
Alison: She’s yummy.
Jean: She’s totally yummy. So I love learning about these wonderful humans that are thinking and doing things outside the norm… that support other people.
Alison: Exactly. And anything to do with lasagna has got to be good, right? Let’s just admit it. And so this interview was so wonderful because she’s so down to earth and she makes us laugh. At one point she says, well, before that, I wasn’t doing anything except raising kids in a trailer while she’s pregnant, which just makes me laugh. Like, I think she’s a superhuman or something.
Jean: I do think that phrase, if you want something done, give it to a busy person.
Alison: Yeah, it’s true.
Jean: That’s you.
Alison: That’s you too.
Jean: Is it?
Alison: Absolutely. Well, all right. I think you’re going to love her and love this talk. So we’ll be back after.
Jean: Hi! Thank you for doing this.
Rhiannon Menn: Oh, my gosh. Thank you. I’m so grateful.
Alison: I’m Alison.
Jean: And I’m Jean.
Rhiannon Menn: Nice to put a face to your names on Zoom.
Jean: Thank you. Well, we are so impressed with your idea, your brilliant light bulb idea that has had such a wonderful rippling effect.
Rhiannon Menn: Thank you. I mean, on the one hand, yes, I started making lasagnas in my kitchen. So I think technically it’s my idea. But on the other hand, I like to say this was a giant accident fueled by the passion and generosity of just thousands of people. They were feeling helpless like I was and wanted to do anything they could to support families in their community. So this is really about their passion.
Alison: It’s amazing. Could you tell us a little bit how it started or how like what you just said, this discovery that you could actually do this and pass it out?
Rhiannon Menn: Absolutely. I think back and I remember this all started at the beginning of the pandemic. And I was standing in my very small kitchen in our apartment in San Diego. And I just I remember feeling helpless, like there were no volunteer opportunities. I was hearing stories from friends and people I didn’t know very well. You know, we all went to social media, right? So we’re all scrolling. And I’m hearing, you know, people have lost jobs. People are, you know, scared to travel. Grocery stores are out of toilet paper and food. And I just remember thinking, oh, my gosh, you know, this is, what’s happening and what can I do? And there was nowhere that would take volunteers because you couldn’t do anything in person. And I remember even looking for a blood drive and it was hard to find one in the area. I remember there was a blood shortage early on and I just I looked at my husband and I said, I’m going to start making meals. I’m going to find people that need them. You tell me when our grocery budget has run out. And we we were lucky enough that we got a giant Costco delivery through Instacart and we wiped everything down with alcohol. And I made anything that I could get my hands on. And I still remember posting for the first time in a couple of San Diego moms groups. And just the outpouring of love and the women who messaged me privately saying, you know, I didn’t want to say anything publicly in the group, but like, we could really use this now and they would share their story.
Rhiannon Menn: And and some of them were heartbreaking even in those early days. And I think naively, I thought, okay, I’ll make some lasagnas, I’ll make some chicken and rice. This will all pass in a couple of weeks and we’ll be back to normal. And then it didn’t. And somewhere around four weeks, I started getting messages from people saying, hey, I don’t I don’t need a meal, but are there enough families to go around? And I thought, what a question. You know, are there enough families who need help? Absolutely. I don’t know how to find them, but I will. And I just remember, you know, trying to get into all these different groups, you know, buy nothing groups and community neighbor support groups anywhere where I thought there might be people who needed help. And I started setting up Google sheets for these women who were kind enough to want to cook as well. And one thing turned into another and their friends saw them posting and their friends saw them posting. And I started getting emails from Florida and Iowa and Georgia. And I just kept saying, yes, I’ll I’ll figure it out. I’ll figure it out. And we did. And now here we are three years later. We fed almost 1.5 million people. And it’s just mind blowing to think of the impact that we’ve had.
Alison: Wow! Are you serious?
Rhiannon Menn: I am. Yeah. We’ll hit actually, you know, probably this week or next we’ll hit 1.5 million people who’ve been impacted by this.
Alison: That’s amazing. Really.
Jean: Wow. And your daughter helped you?
Rhiannon Menn: She did. And she still does.
Jean: How old is your daughter now? Because, you know, I looked you up a little bit. A little bit of Facebook. Your website.
Rhiannon Menn: We post about her less but yeah. So she just turned six.
Alison: So she was three.
Rhiannon Menn: Yeah, she was three when the pandemic started and my son was one. And so he didn’t really understand what was going on, but she, she knew things had changed, right? She could no longer have playdates. The parks were closed. And we wanted to let her we wanted her to be aware that there were families who who were walking through hard times. And what did that mean? And so she was there for the very first lasagnas, and she used to come with me on deliveries. And I still remember, um, and we see this a lot now, but one of the first families that requested she was a mom and she had a son who was immunocompromised and she was she was scared to go to the grocery store and it was his birthday. And she was just like, Hey, if you could just bring a lasagna, at least he’ll have something special to eat for dinner. And I told my daughter, you know, Hey, there’s a little boy and it’s his birthday. Like, what do you think? And she’s like, I think we should make him a card. And she made him a card and she made him cookies. And so we were able to deliver. And that’s, I think, the beauty of lasagna love is that we’re not just bringing a meal. You create a personal connection with these families. And that has an impact beyond what they’re putting in their stomachs. And sometimes we’re inspired by a story that, like, I just feel called that I’m supposed to do something extra. And it’s great that she could that she felt that, too. And she could be a part of that. And we made this little boy birthday something more than than it would have been otherwise.
Alison: First, I think it’s amazing when I think back what all of us went through during the pandemic.
Rhiannon Menn: Yeah.
Alison: And the strength and the courage for so many people to get through it. And the amount of grief and hope. And on a soul level for the world, it’s amazing. And the fact that you were participating in such a beautiful way. Were you always a volunteer? Was this something that was very common for you to do?
Rhiannon Menn: Yes and no.
Alison: So be a hero?
Rhiannon Menn: I do not know. I’m honored. I do not consider myself a hero by any means. I like to cook for people, and I’ve found a happy place doing that. But, you know, from a very young age, I remember volunteering with my mom and I’ve talked about this with her since then. And I think she in a very different way than me, spent a lot of time like, you know, feeding people and making sure that she could show that love and that sustenance through food. And so I would cook with her. You know, I remember being, you know, what, seven, eight, nine and cooking for the library bake sale or I would sing at nursing homes during the holidays for people who didn’t have family. And I think it was she just raised me that this was what you do. You put goodness out because that’s that’s part of being human. And I think that continued on through my high school and college and post years but always as sort of a, you know something I did on the side or something when I had time.
Rhiannon Menn: But I think it was always a driving force. And then it’s actually interesting because right before Covid hit, you know, my husband and I did a lot of personal reflection on where we were in our lives and what we wanted to do and sort of rewrote what our lives mission was. And I really, truly felt that mine was to serve others in some way, that that was my life’s purpose. And I just I didn’t know how that was going to happen. And it felt like to some degree, I manifested. What happened at the beginning of Covid, that it was, you know, because people felt, you know, you can remember back to how you felt. Some people, you know, were really driven to get out there and do what they could. But, you know, other people, they’re their primary emotion was fear. And they turned inward or they turned to social media or they hid. And all of those are natural responses. But how you handle those emotions, I think isreally it was interesting to watch people take different paths.
Jean: It is really it’s amazing what you were able to accomplish. And I think that’s the power of love. I mean, talk about love in action. You’re really a demonstration of that. Can you tell us now where lasagna love is at? Like, how is the organization? How many volunteers do you have? Is it still very active?
Rhiannon Menn: I’ve been surprised that -Yes,! I think a lot of us thought, okay, you know, we will do this during the pandemic and then you want to consider the end of it. Right? It’s become just part of of our everyday lives now. And people are back to work and kids are back in school. And so will there be a need? And absolutely. I think we still see a need. The need has shifted right before we were delivering to a lot of families who were maybe homebound with Covid or had lost somebody to Covid or had lost their job or had lost child care. And those things are still happening. They’re just not in the news. And they’re there from a different reason. Right? We’re you know, we’re walking through inflation and other sort of global events, refugees coming over. And so the people that we help might be coming to us for different reasons, but they still need a home cooked meal. And more than that, they need the kindness and connection from someone in their communities. And so we have 40,000 volunteers who have made or delivered lasagna at some point in the last three years. About anywhere between 10 and 15,000 of those are active at any one time. And so we’re still feeding about, I would say, 10,000 people a week. And it goes in peaks and valleys. It’s, you know, sometimes people have more money to spend on ingredients and sometimes they have less. And during the holiday season, everyone gets out to to bake. And so there’s definitely a pattern to it. But we’re still you know, we’re still getting a few hundred new volunteers every week. So there are still people who are inspired to become a part of this, even though it’s not for Covid.
Alison: Right. Right.
Jean: And how does someone become a volunteer? And that’s how I how I met you is through a volunteer.
Rhiannon Menn: Lynn.
Jean: Lynn. Yeah. And she kept saying, this is the kindest person and I’m so happy part of this.
Rhiannon Menn: Well, I think Lynn’s the kindest person in the world. She’s one of our she’s basically a full time volunteer. She delivers. Not only does she deliver lasagna, she helps us find the families who need help on a global level. And she decorates. Have you seen her decorated lasagna?
Jean: No. So?
Rhiannon Menn: So she doesn’t just make lasagna. She’ll make flowers out of red, red and orange peppers. She’ll cook cookie cutters now and she’ll decorate them with mozzarella hearts. She’s done lasagna decorating classes. She takes it to another level.
Rhiannon Menn: I mean, I think part of why it’s grown so quickly is it’s so easy. You know, you go to the website, you sign up as a volunteer, you pick your own schedule. You can say, I want to help one family every month or I’d like to help for a week or I just want to try it once and see how it goes. And we do all the back end matching and I won’t go into the technology, but there’s a lot of it and we try and match people with someone nearby in their community. And so, if I sign up, I’ll get a match and I’ll be able to log in and say, okay, I’m delivering to, you know, Kathy down the street. She has three kids. She’s a single mom. She’s working two jobs, is just exhausted and doesn’t have time to make a meal and would love to be able to treat her kids to a home cooked meal and have a break for a night. And I’ll reach out to Kathy and say, hey, I’m your lasagna, chef. You know, do you make vegetarian? Is that okay? Are there things your kids don’t eat? And so you’re creating that. To your point about love, we’re not just delivering that meal. We’re we’re delivering something that’s made specifically for you. And I think that to me, I wanted to deliver love in a pan. I wanted to deliver kindness. I wanted to bring somebody that hope. And that’s what our volunteers do now.
Jean: I owned a flower shop for about 18 years and one of my favorite jobs was to deliver the arrangement. You know.
Jean: It would be late in the afternoon, early in the evening. And I’d be like, okay, well, I’ll deliver these arrangements because you do get that. It is that giving and receiving are one. It’s so interconnected and we don’t know it because our eyes tell us that, you know, Alison’s here and you’re there and you’re there, but energetically, you know, when I would bring a flower arrangement to someone. I just felt so happy I’d get back in my car and be like, Oh, that was really nice. And they loved it. And there’s no downside!
Rhiannon Menn: I’ve had so much lasagna sauce on my car. No, it’s true. A friend of mine says, you know, the quality of your energy is your intention, right? It’s the intention behind it. If you’re delivering something with love and care, you know, like you are with flowers or like I am with lasagna, the person on the other end feels that. Yeah, but then you also benefit. I think a lot of people feel like, oh, like, you know, volunteering is for the receiver. And I hear day in and day out, you know, people who they’re like, I feel guilty because I get more out of this than the recipients do. And we’ve had people come to us who you would read their story and you would assume they’re a recipient because they’ve walked through some trauma or they’ve lost somebody or they’re struggling with mental health and they’re doing this as a way to heal. They’re giving as a way to heal because there’s so much there’s science that explains why that happens and the science of gratitude and what passing something forward actually does for your mind and your body and your spirit. But it’s true that, you know, as a person who’s given many lasagnas, like, I feel stronger and happier and healthier and like it’s just it’s a beautiful thing that both parties are getting something out of it. And then, of course, there’s you know, there’s the pay it forward. There are recipients go on to do things beyond, you know, they receive a lasagna and then they they either share it or they go. And we hear stories all the time of what our recipients have gone on and done in their community. And I think that’s, you know, that’s a lot of the power. And I think that comes when you have that person to person connection where it doesn’t necessarily come if you stop at a food bank or, you know, it’s which is also critically important, but it inspires a different emotion.
Alison: And how many hours would you say a week that you do this or in involved or a month… Does it take up a lot of your time?
Rhiannon Menn: Me personally.This is all I do. I mean, I have three little kids And a husband and a house And we travel and family and. And a garden. Yeah. No, So. So this is. This is all I get. I had to give up my putting air quotes, my career right. To do this. This is now all I do. And I don’t want to count the hours because I would be embarrassed to say them out loud.
Alison: I think we can get you a badge! That’s what women say. This is all I do. And you have three children. We find that a lot when we talk to women, right?
Rhiannon Menn: Absolutely.
Alison: That you’re like, this is all I do except I’m raising other human beings.
Rhiannon Menn: Which is a full time job, right?
Alison: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So that’s fantastic. How was that for you to make a shift from a career to this? Was that challenging? Did you did you feel like sometimes I feel with careers there is societal norms or was there anything like that for you?
Rhiannon Menn: It’s an interesting conversation because there was definitely tension, but it came in a few different ways. So there was tension between my husband and I, right? Because we were business partners. And so I’m leaving the business, which definitely was a thing that, like, we should not work together. We learned that in working together. But it’s still hard to separate because now all the things I was doing, who takes those on, right? I think the bigger challenge was, you know lasagna love in the early days it was me as a full time volunteer. How do we navigate that? Right as sort of a startup gets off the ground. And I think that can be true when you start a nonprofit or in any kind of entrepreneurship, but especially as a woman, I think we put pressure on ourselves that we have to compensate them. And so how do I compensate for having a job that doesn’t pay me by taking on more things in the house? But then there’s the you know, then there’s the cycle of the burnout and how do you take care of yourself? And. Right. I do think that that’s something that women walk through more often.
Rhiannon Menn: Um, and I don’t I think some of that is society putting pressure on it. But I think a lot of it is us interpreting that what we see and saying I have to. And so I think one thing that I’ve been really public about on my like Good to Mama blog and then elsewhere is, you know, it’s you have to take care of yourself first in order to help others. And for some people, helping others is how they take care of themselves. But you know, in my position where this is full time, like I have to make sure I’m making time for exercise and eating and hydration and, you know, spending time with my kids and calling my mom. Otherwise I won’t do a good job at this. But that’s a hard balance to find. And it definitely took a while. And when this first started, we were traveling in a camper van across the country, ostensibly on a family vacation. I would be in a Texas tent outside with mosquito netting with like a folding table and my laptop and a monitor and like a tangle of extension cords. And my husband would be taking the kids on this gorgeous hike. And I’d be like trying to figure out how do I get Google maps to, like match and optimize these 400 volunteers that I have? And it was it was not… it was not sustainable.
Alison: So you were traveling? How long were you traveling in an RV?
Rhiannon Menn: Um, a couple months, yeah. Yeah, we sold our house. And so we were living in San Diego, but had moved there from Boston, went back to Boston to sell our house, drove in a camper van. We left there back to San Diego, and we left some time in August and I think got to San Diego in end of October, beginning of September, maybe.
Alison: You, your husband, a three year old and a one year old.
Rhiannon Menn: And I was pregnant.
Alison: But other than that, everything, everything was fine!
Rhiannon Menn: I think that’s how strongly I feel about what we’re like. We just had to figure it out. I knew there were so many people that needed this, I couldn’t, like, I couldn’t stop. There was just no way… I remember early on and I think I’ve shared this story before, but one of the women I delivered to in those first few weeks, she was a mom taking care of her mom, her sister and her six month year old. And she had lost her income early on due to the pandemic. And she messaged she was like, you know, I’m so sorry to ask our refrigerator broke. I’ve been eating ramen noodles for the last two weeks. Is there any chance you can swing by and bring us a meal? And I remember driving up, she lived in a mobile home and I remember driving up and they’re like, there’s a fridge sitting out front. And I just burst into tears in the car. And, you know, I just like, I was like, I, I can’t. I can’t in good conscience not do this right when there are people who who are being so strongly affected that they can’t feed themselves and they can’t take care of their six month old. And as a mom especially, it was just absolutely not. You know, I’m going to make lasagnas until the grocery store runs out of sauce, which a couple of times they did.
Rhiannon Menn: So we just we made it work. And my husband was incredibly supportive and patient 90% of the time and, and you know, he’s also been an entrepreneur. So he understood that this was what we had to walk through in the beginning.
Alison: It’s interesting because I volunteered for like about 12 years for many, many, many, many hours a week. And I remember trying to stop. And you almost can’t stop because you feel like, well, what about that? What about this person? So I can completely relate to what you’re saying. Where would you like your organization to be like in 5 or 10 years? Is there something you’re looking forward to or are you happy where it is and you just want to continue as is?
Rhiannon Menn: I am happy where it is. I also am…I’m never, like, comfortable with status quo. I always know there’s more that can be done. And I think what’s really unique – we have very like explicit core values, you know, and one of them is around being innovative. And what we’ve done is we’re the first nonprofit, at least that I know of, that on an international scale, has figured out how to match neighbors directly with neighbors to fulfill a need. And right now, that need is being met through home cooked meals. But the mechanism has impact on neighbor to neighbor, that’s what provides the the kindness impact, the mental health and emotional benefits on both sides. And it doesn’t have to be around meals. It could be around I’m knitting you a sweater. It could be I’m mowing your lawn. It could be I’m tutoring, right? It could be any social need. And so I think the really interesting thing is how in the next few years can we figure out where else this platform can be leveraged in the social and the social sector.
Rhiannon Menn: And we’re building right now. We have a wonderful board member, Erin Petersen, who’s led open source projects before. She’s been a CTO and she’s actually raised her hand and volunteered to rebuild our volunteer portal but from an open source. So we have, you know, 100 or so developers who are all coming together and building it. And it means that code will be free to any other organization that wants to come in and use it. And so maybe we’re the ones who take this technology and say, okay, like it’s worked for lasagna. Let’s try it over here with like cakes for foster kids. But maybe it’s another organization that says, wow, like, that’s really interesting. Let me go and take this code and see if I can apply it to this thing we’re already doing to maximize our impact. So I think that’s where a lot of the innovation is. And what I’d love to see happen in five years.
Alison: Fantastic. Is that sort of like Angie’s List for good works. Could be anything. That’s fantastic.
Jean: Wonderful. Yeah. Look how that mushroomed out of a lasagna.
Rhiannon Menn: Yeah. If you had told me this story, I would have told you you were absolutely bonkers.
Alison: How was that for you when you were making these deliveries? Did you ever know any of the people? Like just in the supermarket or friend or and now a ton of friends where you live.
Rhiannon Menn: I am known. I have friends. Friends who live down the street who just a few weeks ago were you know, the mom got Covid and her daughter got Covid. And the dad was like, ah, help. And, you know, so I made a custom lasagna and dropped it off. They can text me and there’s no there’s no shame, there’s no embarrassment. There’s no we look okay on the outside, but we’re struggling in this in this regard. I think that’s a lot of it is normalizing, asking for help and just saying, oh my gosh, it’s okay if you need help for a night or for a few nights. And so I definitely have friends who know that I’m the lasagna lady and they can call me. I’ve never known anybody who I’ve been matched with formally through like our matching system. But I think that’s because people just text me directly.
Rhiannon Menn: But I do have families that I’ve delivered to multiple times and I’ve gotten to know their stories and gotten to know what they like. And sometimes it’s…Well, I’ve already delivered you three lasagnas. Would you like something else this time? Right. And so it’s interesting to have that connection in the community. And there are definitely people who I’m walking around and they see my shirt and go, Wait, I know. Lasagna love. Yeah. And that’s always fun for me. I feel really I’m like, oh, I’m like a mini celebrity. But not at all. I just make lasagna. It always feels good.
Jean: So are you writing a blog that that our listeners can go to? And, say someone listening to this podcast wants to become a volunteer? What should they do? And tell me about your blog.
Rhiannon Menn: Sure. So they should go to Lasagna Love. And there’s a few different ways you can get involved so you can sign up to become a volunteer. We would love that. If you don’t like to cook or don’t have the time, you can sign up to donate monthly and that helps us find more people in your community who can volunteer or who need a meal. You can request a meal. Honestly, you know, there’s so many people out there who feel embarrassed to raise their hand. And I’m here to tell you, like we have seen it all and do not do not feel anything but wonderful. And it’s a gift to us to be able to bring it to you. Wow. So I’d say that and then I would say in terms of writing, I do have a blog at Be Good to Mamma.com. I’m taking a little break from it to do Lasagna Love, and I’m trying to figure out what like I keep starting to write a book and then I keep re-figuring out what it’s about so you can keep an eye out for that down the road.
Alison: Do you find it easy yourself to ask for help?
Rhiannon Menn: No. Ironically, no. And it’s interesting. At the beginning, I want to say this was probably September. So lasagna had been around a few months. We had about 400 volunteers. And I was just, you know, I mentioned camper van, laptop tables, extension cords. I was just really drowning. And my husband said, you have to ask for help. I was like, but I can’t. You know, people are all volunteering. I can’t ask them for help. And he really helped empower me to to do that. And I put a post out and people came out of the woodwork. And now we have a volunteer leadership team of over 300 people helping to lead the organization. But that was really hard for me to admit. And then, actually, I had to request a lasagna. About eight months ago, my whole family got Covid. My husband was in the ER for other things and we were just I could barely I could barely, like walk around. I felt like a zombie. And I just remember sitting there and saying, like, this is the moment when I tell other people to raise their hand. Like, you have got to do it. You’ve got to do it. And I went on our website and I didn’t even I didn’t even backchannel. I was like, I want to do this the right way. And I went on the website and requested and our local leader reached out to me and brought me a home cooked meal. And it was one of the most beautiful experiences to be able to sit there and to receive that pan from her and to just understand what our recipients feel and the whole myriad of emotions, right. The gratitude, but also the little bit of embarrassment, but more the happiness and then just the beauty that there’s zero judgment coming my way. There’s a woman just standing there saying, I’m so excited. I hope you like it. I put spinach in it. Right. And to feel like you’re getting help from a neighbor feels so different. And that in and of itself is empowering. So I hope that. I think it takes a lot of strength, actually. I think it’s very brave to ask for help. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of brave things in the world, but I think asking for help and being able to actually go to another human being and say, Hey, could you help me? Or please, I need this. You know, I’m trying to instill that. I have a 22 year old son and it’s hard for him to ask for help. You know, he’s just like, I got it. I got it. And I said, I know you do. And you know, but someday you may not. And that’s okay. And I think it’s really great, too. What you’re doing is allowing someone to actually step up and be brave to ask for help. It’s so beautiful. And I.
Alison: Love that.
Jean: That the karma came around, too.
Rhiannon Menn: No, I love that. Because you’re right. It’s you know, we say there’s no qualification. The only requirement is that you had the courage to raise your hand like that’s all that matters to our volunteers. And that doesn’t work for everybody, but it works for everybody at Lasagna Love. And that’s part of what binds us together. Is this zero question, zero judgment, empowering, positive attitude that everybody deserves help if they’re wondering.
Jean: Do you have a spiritual practice?
Rhiannon Menn: I’m Jewish. But I converted, so I was raised a bunch of different things. Judaism sort of popped in and out of my life through friends. And when I met my now husband, I’ve been trying to find a spiritual practice that felt like it fit. I mentioned to him that my best friend all through high school and college happened to be Jewish, like, thought about converting. And he’s like, you’re just saying that because I’m Jewish. It’s like, no. And so I did. I converted before we got married. And I think one of the things that I love, I think there’s two things. One is the ability to ask questions. And because I’m a very curious person and I like to ask and to have those dialogues even if they’re uncomfortable. And then the other piece is just and I can’t remember the framework, but there’s like a framework for giving. The highest form of giving in Judaism is that you give and you don’t know who you’re giving to and the recipient doesn’t know who it came from and it’s like that, you can’t get anything. You can’t get a thank you, you can’t get anything back. Right. And so I just I love that idea because I don’t need somebody to text me afterwards saying how delicious it was. All I just need to know that I put it out into the world. That’s all that matters. And I know that the universe will take care of the rest of it. And I feel like there are other spiritual practices that I think have that ethos as well. But this one, this one works for me.
Alison: I feel like it’s just a sign of the times that there are so many of us willing to put that out there, you know, and reach out to each other. You’re just such a wonderful person. I wish you would let us know when your book is written and we’ll have you back.
Rhiannon Menn: Thank you so much.
Jean: And you are the personification of kindness. You really are a very high master, masterly way to move through life and to spread kindness and generosity and not, you know, have a lot of bells and whistles around you. So I really. Uh, respect what you’re doing. And I’m so grateful that we had this time together.
Jean: Thank you so much. I can’t wait to see what your kids do.
Rhiannon Menn: You guys are so wonderful and kind. Thank you so much for the opportunity.
Jean: You’re just such a bright light. Thank you so much for moving from your heart. You’re an inspiration.
Jean: Wow, that was nice.
Alison: I love her. Right. Because she just seems like someone you want to hang out with.
Jean: Absolutely right. And when I was doing some a little bit of research on her, she lives in over in one of the Hawaiian islands. But now her kids, she’s got three kids and she’s still going strong with lasagna love. And, you know, she’s just doing living her life, spreading the joys, doing good.
Alison: And when you think that, you think, oh, I can’t really do much. I love that. She says she was kind of frustrated during Covid or felt helpless. And I think there are so many times I think, Oh, what difference am I going to make? What difference is this going to make? You know, you really you do make a difference. The smallest of gesture can have a ripple effect. And look what this incredible woman did. I think it’s great. And she’s so young and a sweetie pie.
Jean: She is. She’s wonderful. So actually after the interview was over,that evening, I made a lasagna.
Alison: That’s the thing. The interview made me so hungry. It made me so hungry to be talking about food and lasagna because I wanted it. I’d be like, just can you send us one, please? Send us a lasagna. She’s so wonderful. Thank you so much for listening. And I think the takeaway is share.
Jean: You’re good.Share your good.
Alison: What? Did you just come up with that? You’re fantastic.