Nourishing the Frontlines
LANEY & LU donates meals to support healthcare heroes, first responders and those in need
The team at LANEY & LU in Exeter believes that food serves a greater purpose than filling our stomachs — that it has the power to build connection. Their mission is to create food and drink that inspires a sense of community, and now they’ve channeled that mission into their COVID-19 “Help Others” movement. The goal? Provide nutrient-dense and energizing meals to support and nourish those who need it most.
“The movement began when a neighbor reached out to ask if we would deliver meals to Exeter Hospital if she was able to get 10 meals donated by the community,” says owner Jennifer Desrosiers. “She began activating the local community and the idea sparked dozens of people to contribute in the matter of a few days. LANEY & LU was so inspired by the excitement around this and it was clear (even in the first week of the pandemic) that our nourishing food and the sentiment of the gift of food was making a huge impact. We took inspiration from this and added ‘Give a Smoothie, Give a Bowl’ options to our online order system. This allowed community members to gift food to those that need it most right now (healthcare works, caretakers, first responders and the underserved) while they were placing their own order.”
Since mid-March, the community has donated 1,500 free bowls and smoothies. Their meals have gone to Exeter Hospital, Portsmouth Regional Hospital, PRH – Seabrook Emergency, Eliot Hospital, CMC Hospital – Manchester, York Hospital, GatherNH, Lamprey Healthcare, The Chase Home for Children, Riverwoods – Exeter and many more, and Team LU isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon. “On Friday, April 24, we set a goal for a new milestone — serve 3,500 free meals,” says Desrosiers. “In just over a week, we are now 70% of our way to the new goal. Nearly all of the 1,000 meals that we’ve received in that time have been through major contributions from local businesses. We’re grateful for everyone who has so generously contributed to this effort as we continue to rise together for our community.” Community impact and contribution have been the anchors that have kept the team at LANEY & LU tied to positivity during such a stressful time.
This outpouring of community support and service has been bittersweet for the team at LU. When the coronavirus first hit the Granite State, Desrosiers made a bold commitment to maintain employment and labor hours for her entire team of 16 while foregoing her own salary, and she has kept her promise. She has also been able to continue to support more than two dozen local farmers, merchants and small businesses. “Doing what we say we are going to do is one of our operational values,” says Desrosiers. “This commitment has kept me 100% focused on keeping my team safe, innovating our business model and staying positive.”
The campaign represents the meaning and power of community. As a result of its ever-evolving widespread impact, Desrosiers says that she plans on keeping the “Help Others” program as a permanent part of the LANEY & LU website. Real, vibrant food fuels us, and contribution and connection does too.
As stressful, unpredictable and unprecedented as this time has been, the smiles and tears of joy on tired, worn out faces as they receive their vibrant meals have been what has kept Desrosiers going. “Like so many, my life has been permanently shifted by this pandemic. What I will remember most are the air high fives amidst the team as we sent off meals to local hospitals, and the fear and exhaustion on the faces of nurses melting into joy as I unloaded boxes of meals to them.” The gratitude and energy behind the movement will last long after bans are lifted and the pandemic is over, and it is a present reminder that a deeper level of joy, love, support, kindness and connection is the new normal.
Check out laneyandlu.com/helpothers to see a full list of business contributors from the Seacoast. To give, start by using venmo @laneyandlu, send a check to LANEY & LU or give on the website. Once you are on the website, select the number of meals that you would like to give and the team will prepare the donated meals and deliver to an organization.
“Nearly all of the 1,000 meals that we’ve received in that time have been through major contributions from local businesses like Auger Building Company, Chinburg Properties, Gamester Law, Panorama Wealth, The Kane Company, Market Street Architects, The Boulos Company, Exeter Power Yoga, RumbleTree and Renewable Energy Development Partners. We’re grateful for everyone who has so generously contributed to this effort as we continue to rise together for our community,” says Desrosiers.