Lenten Stories: Dare to Love More

ELCA’s 40 Days of Giving

Thank you for reading stories of the life-saving work made possible by gifts to ELCA World Hunger during Lent. Learn more at elca.org/40days »

Dare to Love More



DLM Food and Resources at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Akron, Ohio, is a place where families find nourishing food, warm clothes and an equally warm welcome.

“At first glance, it’s not much different from any well-run, client-choice food pantry,” said Deacon Marla Wood Kay, director of congregational ministries at Holy Trinity.

But, Wood Kay said, “the idea for this ministry was born in a hospice room,” where Holy Trinity member Debra Manteghi was dying of cancer.

For years, Manteghi had advocated for families. She developed Project RISE (Realizing Individual Strength through Education), a federally funded program connecting Akron Public Schools, shelters and community organizations to support students who are homeless.

After her death, need and opportunity converged.

“I had a desire to continue Debra’s ministry,” Wood Kay said. “Project RISE needed a food pantry to direct their families to.”

In June 2017, Holy Trinity approved the food pantry ministry. Donations in Manteghi’s honor and a church endowment supported it.

When it was time to name the new ministry, Manteghi’s son, Amir, and his fiancee, Monica Band, named it DLM, which stands for “Dare to Love More” and also “Debra Lynn Manteghi.”

Since opening to guests in October 2017, DLM has grown, serving 75 families – 300 people – on average per month. Wood Kay said DLM picks up 1,500 to 3,500 pounds of food three times per month and is a member of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, which provides food and other essential items to area hunger ministries.

While their parents shop, children read books and play games that were collected by Holy Trinity. Plans are underway to expand offerings beyond food, including more adult and children’s clothing, school uniforms and drop-in counseling.

Volunteers, along with an ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grant, help DLM thrive.

Thanks to your gifts to ELCA World Hunger, the ministry has been able to increase refrigeration capabilities and purchase extra food.

“Our clients feel seen, heard and loved,” said Rachel Breece, Project RISE special programs coordinator. “The ability to take one more thing off their plate is priceless.”

The world provides enough food for all, but more than 800 million people around the world face chronic hunger. We believe in a God of abundance, so as a church, we live out our call in baptism to strive for a just world where all are fed. ELCA World Hunger is our church’s ministry to end hunger and poverty. We walk alongside our partners and companions in the United States and more than 60 other countries. Your gifts to ELCA World Hunger address hunger and poverty around the world with creative and courageous action.

This Lent, you’re invited to join together with fellow supporters to study, reflect and give during ELCA World Hunger’s 40 Days of Giving. Experience how the grace of Christ moves us to engage in transformative works of love around the world through ELCA World Hunger as God calls us into the ministry of hope, liberation and restoration for our world.

Learn more at ELCA.org/40Days.