Furloughed worker used her stimulus check to make 400 lasagnas for her neighbors

A lot of Americans have been furloughed from their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic. One of these is Michelle Brenner, a kind-hearted woman who used her stimulus check for a good cause instead of her living costs.

After being furloughed from her retail job, 45-year-old Brenner didn’t want to dwell on to such a misfortune. She decided to turn it into something positive and do something good for her Washington Community. She started grocery shopping for her neighbors but when she noticed that a lot of them were asking for frozen lasagne, she thought of a better idea to make them happier.

Furloughed retail worker Michelle Brenner

“Hello favorite friends,” Brenner wrote on Facebook. “I delivered a ton of frozen family-size lasagnas today. Now, this is not a problem by any means, lol. But you have a die-hard, full Italian lasagna lover living in your town.”

Frozen lasagna is a very convenient meal especially in this time of pandemic. However, Brenner wanted to give them something fresh and delicious and she also loves making Italian food. This is why she offered her neighbors free, homemade lasagna as well as free delivery.

Apparently, a lot of requests came in as she posted a picture of her appetizing homemade lasagna. With so much excitement, Brenner headed to the shop and bought the necessary ingredients using her stimulus check.

Homemade lasagna made by furloughed worker Michelle Brenner

Demands for free lasagna skyrocketed after a week and Brenner could hardly handle the pressure. She ended up making 60 lasagnas over Easter weekend. Since she started this journey, she had made and given out 1,200 pans of lasagna.

“The whole point of this is to spread that sense of community wherever we can through the comfort of lasagna,” Brenner explained. “So, I don’t want anybody to feel disincluded because reality is there are people out there who can’t afford a dollar.”

Brenner’s neighbors in Gig Harbor, Washington were all so grateful for her kindness and generosity. People have also left Brenner “thank you” cards, balloons, flowers and wine. Someone even made her a t-shirt that says, “Lasagna Lady,” which is now her new nickname.

Michelle Brenner making lasagnas in her kitchen

As she continued her operation, she moved from her little kitchen to a commercial kitchen at Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club. There, she makes homemade lasagnas between 8 and 14 hours a day. Her community also stepped in to help, raising $23,000.

Brenner has been cooking for 90 days in a row but this doesn’t seem to make her feel exhausted. She said she is not tired and when she goes back to her job, she will continue making lasagnas for the community. In fact, she thinks she can keep doing this operation for the rest of her life.

Brenner definitely enjoys her time in the kitchen, meeting people and helping those in need. She hopes to feed 50,000 people and more in the future.

“Those warm smells help people to know that somebody cares about them. You can be in the most awful place in your life, and then a big plate of lasagna will provide some peace and hope.”

Thank you cards and gifts from Brenner's neighbors

It’s so amazing to see wonderful stories like Brenner’s amidst this challenging time. She has been furloughed from her job but instead of worrying about her finances, she used her last pay check to help her neighborhood and touch their lives in her own simple way. We hope that people’s kindness grows even after this pandemic.

Watch this video to see how Brenner made a difference to her community, one lasagna at a time: