Sometimes it takes an army, and sometimes it takes two.

Among the volunteers at the Salvation Army's assembly line for Christmas food boxes on Wednesday were the men who call themselves Charlie's Army.

The self-proclaimed army of retired teachers, principals and superintendents have been volunteering at the Salvation Army for more than 15 years since Charlie Lehman recruited them.

"Charlie was the superintendent at York Suburban, and I was the superintendent at Central York and he said you oughta get involved with this," said William Snyder. "Charlie got a lot of people involved with this."

Paul Wolfgang, 82, a former principal at York Suburban, said that Lehman was known as Mr. Salvation Army.

Becky Hickok of York, a Target sales associate, packs a box with food as part of the Salvation Army s Christmas Cheer Distribution.
Becky Hickok of York, a Target sales associate, packs a box with food as part of the Salvation Army s Christmas Cheer Distribution. (Bil Bowden photo)

"He asked a bunch of us if we'd come in and volunteer in December and we said sure, so now we are known as Charlie's Army," said Wolfgang.

"Charlie died three years

ago, but we're still coming," Wolfgang said.

"We were always taught, in all of our various denominations, to always give back to our community. Many of us were old Yorkers, and we believe in giving back to the community."

Christmas Cheer: The men from Charlie's Army, along with volunteers from the Christian School of York, Target in West York and Penn Air Hydraulics, packed 2,000 Christmas food boxes at the Salvation Army on East King Street.

This was the first year that groups from local businesses volunteered for the project, said George Lenkner, business manager for the Salvation Army.

Next week, volunteers will organize the Angel Tree donations into a toy shop at the Salvation Army and "shop" for toys for the children age 1 to 10 who are pre-registered for Christmas Cheer Distribution.

On Dec. 18 and 19, about 2,000 families who have pre-registered to participate in this year's Christmas Cheer Distribution will go to the Salvation Army to pick up their bag of toys, a Christmas dinner box and a turkey.

Assembly line: The dinner boxes assembled on Wednesday include everything for a Christmas dinner "and more," Lenkner said.

With all of the volunteers working together on the assembly line, more than 300 boxes are completed in an hour.

"It's like the Lucille Ball assembly line," said Becky Hickok.

Hickok is an employee at the Target in West Manchester Township and not only volunteered her time on Wednesday morning but drafted her husband, Troy, for the project too.

Paul Hines, consumables manager at the Target in West Manchester Township, said sign-up sheets for volunteer opportunities go up in the employee room year round.

"Everybody is here for the good of the community," said Hines.

-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or cshank@yorkdispatch.com