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Shepherd House volunteers honored for service

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    Shepherd House Executive Director Stanley Haupt, left, thanks Charles Hettler for his 30 years of service. DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS

Published May 08. 2019 02:25PM

Charles Hettler threw a birthday party for himself in April to celebrate turning 80 years old. There was only one thing on his gift list: monetary donations for Shepherd House Inc., the Carbon County food pantry system consisting of nine local food pantries.

“I was going to do something to feed the hungry,” said Hettler, who chairs the Shepherd House Board. He expected to raise a few hundred dollars.

Last Saturday, Hettler presented a check in the amount of $1,500 to Shepherd House. That same day, the organization hosted a luncheon to commemorate its 35th anniversary (which was in November) and to honor its 130 volunteers.

“I thought it was high time we did something to honor the volunteers for 35 years of dedicated service to feeding the hungry of Carbon County,” Hettler said.

More than 50 people packed the Mahoning Valley Ambulance Building on Mill Road in Lehighton for the luncheon. Among them were Curtis and Susan Snyder, of Lehighton.

Susan has volunteered with Shepherd House for 10 years. She came out of retirement to serve at the food pantry in Lehighton, after a former boss suggested she get involved.

“It’s a wonderful group of people to work with,” Susan said.

Susan had been a volunteer for about two years when she asked Curtis, her husband, to lend a hand in the pantry for one day. That one day has since turned into eight years of service for Curtis.

Every Monday morning, Susan and Curtis, with help from another couple, transport food donations from Walmart to the pantry. Curtis also handles the pantry’s twice monthly bread run.

“The pay’s not so hot, but you enjoy it,” Curtis said with a laugh.

Shepherd House was formed in 1983, after it was discovered that local food pantries could receive more state and federal funding if they fell under one unified corporation, Hettler said. The organization’s name came from a verse in the biblical book of Psalms, which reads: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

In the month of March alone, Shepherd House served more than 700 households. Its volunteers gave a total of 1,069 hours.

Being chair of the board, Hettler is typically in the know about anything related to Shepherd House. But that wasn’t the case last weekend.

Near the end of Saturday’s program, Stanley Haupt, executive director of Shepherd House, surprised Hettler with an award commending his 30 years of volunteer service. Haupt thanked Hettler for his efforts, and said Hettler “really keeps things functioning as they should be.”

For Hettler, it’s been three decades of time well-spent.

“It’s been a real pleasure,” he said.

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