The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 3, 2013

Keeping an eye out for ways to aid others

— Floyd and Chris Lehman pack their bags in a way that they can help the most people.

When they are not distributing food at the St. Francis Sharing and Caring Food Pantry, the Conemaugh Township, Somerset County, couple are helping the Meals on Wheels program, or helping at their church, Stahl Mennonite, located in the Soap Hollow area of Conemaugh Township.

In mid-September, the Lehmans went with another volunteer from St. Francis Sharing and Caring, Bud Stankan, to help the Somerset County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans with its annual feed the hungry project.

One of the chapter’s projects is to deliver potatoes to Somerset County’s nine food pantries.

The chapter provides funds to Kenneth Soldano of Laurel Vista Farms in the Somerset area to plant and care for the potato crop until harvest time.

The Lehmans’ job that day was to take potatoes back to their food pantry, but they ended up helping to pack thousands of bags of potatoes for all nine pantries.

Chris Lehman said the volunteers with Thrivent were well organized.

“They had people digging up potatoes and other volunteers sorting them and bagging them.

“Because we were waiting to pick up the potatoes for St. Francis, we just started to help bag potatoes.”

She said it is important to help others.

All the people involved with St. Francis do a good job of helping others in need, she said.

Chris Lehman said they deliver hot meals with Meals on Wheels in Conemaugh Township.

“We enjoy it,” she said.

“Some people don’t have daily contact with others. When you deliver the hot meals, you also are checking on them and visiting with them.”

The retired registered nurse at Arbutus Park Retirement Community, said both she and her husband are active at their church.

One of the projects that she is proud of at church is that of the women providing hot soup to the community from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. There is no charge and everyone is welcome, she said.

Floyd Lehman said they both feel that it is important to give back to the community and to people who are less fortunate.

“We feel we have been very blessed in our lives,” he said.

“We both had good jobs and now that we are retired, we have (even) more time to volunteer.

“You meet many good people when you volunteer. They are both fellow volunteers and the people you are helping.”

For their efforts, Floyd Lehman, a retired lineman for Penelec, and Chris Lehman are the Persons of the Week.

Becky Minnich, potato project chairwoman for the chapter, said the Lehmans and the other 92 volunteers at the potato harvest worked extremely hard from the minute they arrived.

The volunteers picked, sorted, bagged and loaded onto trucks 7,200 pounds of potatoes. That meant that each pantry received 800 pounds of potatoes. The chapter also donated 15 cases of canned goods to each pantry, she said.

Chris Eash, manager of the St. Francis food pantry, said the Lehmans are genuinely caring people who would help anybody they could.

Both are always eager to help at the food pantry, she said.

“If I have a delivery coming and can’t do it, Floyd steps up and does it for me,” she said.

“Chris is always right there with him.

“If I need help with something, she will come in to help.”

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at Tribune-Democrat editors select a Person of the Week from nominations made by readers. To nominate someone, call 532-5058, 24 hours a day.

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