So far, she’s made more than 1,275 lasagna dishes for friends, neighbors, first responders and anyone who needs a good fresh meal – no charge to anyone.
For Brenner, this is a labor of love, and he has no plans to plant it.
“I knew it was my time in my life to go back to the people who paved the life path for me to have the 45 years of life I had,” he told CNN.
Brenner, who moved to Gig Harbor, Washington, about six years ago, was fired from working in a menswear store after Covid-19. I immediately realized that it is not good to sit around.
She said she had decided she wanted to help elderly members of her community and those who could not get out and buy for themselves because of the pandemic.
So, he stopped working as a buyer for Instacart. She spent only two days working with the app for shipping food – but in that time she has noticed one item that her customers continue to demand: frozen lasagna.
One of those customers was a man in his nineties. Brenner said when she delivered the frozen lasagna and other items that she confessed she hadn’t had fresh food in nearly a month and a half.
That moment inspired Brenner to do some proper food shopping, and pick the ingredients to make his family a fresh lasagna based on his grandmother’s recipe.
“Frozen lasagna isn’t a stretch,” he said. “I’m not a fan of frozen lasagna. I’m very Italian.”
After his plate came out of the oven, Brenner jumped on Facebook to do what so many others have done throughout their forties: Share their dinner at home on social media. In his place, Brenner offered to make his lasagna and return it free to anyone who wanted it.
When she received enough requests, she went to the store and passed her $ 1,200 stimulus check on the ingredients and started cooking.
She made more than 130 lasagna, and distributed it to those who asked for it for free.
“The whole point of this is to spread that sense of community where we can get through the comfort of lasagna,” he said. “So, I don’t want anyone to feel disillusioned because in reality there are people out there who can’t pay a dollar.”
A one woman operation
This is an operation on a single woman. Brenner spends eight to 14 hours a day doing all the cooking himself. She spent the last 90 days working without a day off.
“Many of us go to work and want to go home immediately … and I’ve never had this sentence,” he said of his recent cooking effort.
Brenner began the operation in his own home, pushing his kitchen to its limit and establishing a non-contact food pantry in his driveway.
Recently, he said he was given the use of a commercial kitchen at the Gig Harbor Sports club, which allowed him to grow his operation.
The lasagna distribution process allowed Brenner to see the impact of his work first hand.
One family, she said, cried when she arrived at Easter because without lasagna and other dishes, they said they didn’t have enough money to celebrate the holiday this year. Another man Brenner told him recently told him he lost his father and son in Covid-19. One woman told Brenner that she donated a lasagna to nurses taking her mother to an Alzheimer’s ward.
Brenner said feeling his lasagna provides more than just nutrition: It creates an opportunity for family members to look after.
“Here’s a family lunch, it’s time to get together, that’s memory, things are conversations,” he said. “It’s something you remember for the rest of your life.”
Although he distributed lasagna for free, many in his community wanted to get rid of it. They decided to organize a series of online fundraisers to help Brenner keep the operation going. Over the past nine weeks, Brenner said they have raised more than $ 23,000 for her – which translates to 1,275 lasagna breads.
While Brenner doesn’t know what will happen when his furlough ends, he said he has no plans to stop making lasagna for others. She called the experience of making lasagna for her community “a dream come true.”
“People say ‘are you tired?’