An east end Montreal family is fighting Alzheimer’s using the power of lasagna.
What began as a small project has become a full-on fundraiser powered by pasta, cheese, sauce and the key ingredient: love.
On a Friday in December, 11-year-old chef Vittoria Pisano and her dad Vince were hard at work grating cheese, forming pasta and assembling lasagnas..
“She’s a machine,” said Vince. “I mean, she’s so focused and into what she does.”
Vittoria has been cooking since she was seven years old.
“I would love cooking with my mom and my grandparents, mostly Italian food,” she told Global News.
Vittoria and her father are hard at work for a special purpose. Her grandfather, Vince’s father, has Alzheimer’s. Lasagna is his favourite dish, and it’s their mission to raise money to help find a cure by selling lasagnas.
“He would always be playful and stuff and very nice,” Vittoria said of her grandfather.
She had initially tried raising money for Alzheimer’s by selling “slime” at school, but Vince says the school didn’t like the idea of kids exchanging money during the pandemic. She came up with the idea of selling lasagna instead.
“It was Vittoria’s idea and people embraced it, and, you know, they keep embracing it,” said Vince.
They advertised on a few local Facebook pages and the community responded in a huge way. Since the project began earlier this year, they say they’ve made and sold hundreds of lasagnas.
“This thing just went viral. We’re up to about $13,000 of donations,” said Vince, before Vittoria corrected him, saying they were close to $14,000 in donations going to the Quebec Alzheimer’s Society.
“I know maybe a lot of families that have, like, parents or grandparents or whatever it is that have this horrible disease, and I just wanted to, like, make a change,” she said.
After a little break for Vittoria to focus on school, they’re now back by popular demand, and they’ve started making plenty of deliveries to the West Island.
“I put a post in the West Island Facebook page and the rest is history. West Island is extremely supportive,” said Vince.
They hope the project not only helps end Alzheimer’s, but convinces other kids to fight for causes they believe in.
“I’m proud of myself and my family for helping me to raise money to help people with this horrible disease,” said Vittoria.
“You know, you’re never too young to make a difference,” said Vince.