By Rob Montana
Amazing volunteers ensure Harpswell Aging at Home’s programs thrive, but those programs wouldn’t be possible without partnerships with other area organizations.
“What strikes me right away in looking at our list of supporters is that we share a mission of working to be a significant part of the community of Harpswell,” said Surrey Hardcastle, chair of HAH’s Food Committee. “This makes them appreciate our needs and want to help out whenever they can. Often, they offer above and beyond what we would ask for.”
The town of Harpswell is a key partner, fielding phone calls from people seeking to contact Harpswell Aging at Home, as well as offering space for programs and contributing $1,000 annually.
“They have continually been our No. 1. booster in anything we do,” said Hardcastle. “Whether it is the need for the use of town land, a truck to move tables around, a place to distribute information, there is always a smile and ‘Sure, we can help with that.’”
The Harpswell Santa Fund and Maine Women’s Giving Tree also provide financial support, while Harpswell Heritage Land Trust partners on programs and Bowdoin College offers assistance and volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity 7 Rivers Maine works in close partnership with HAH’s home repairs program, and the rides program is an offshoot of People Plus’ Volunteer Transportation Network.
“They set up everything and keep track of all the trips, mileage, etc.,” Hugh Hardcastle, chair of HAH’s Transportation Committee, said of the Volunteer Transportation Network. “There are times when a needed ride falls outside the VTN standard protocol, and HAH drivers have stepped in to help out a Harpswell resident — for example, a Harpswell resident with a doctor appointment in Portland.”
Aside from the organization as a whole, Harpswell Aging at Home’s food programs benefit the greatest from its partnerships.
The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, Merrymeeting Gleaners and Harpswell Community Garden are among the biggest organizational boosters.
Mid Coast Hunger Prevention provides “so much to us so often that we can pass on to our cooks to make into some incredible homemade meals,” said Surrey Hardcastle. “Merrymeeting Gleaners have been incredibly generous, providing organic produce throughout the year that we pass on to our cooks. The sharing tables around Harpswell were entirely their idea, and they supply those tables with produce weekly from June through October.”
Sanctuary Baking, a nonprofit started by Isabella Mastroianni, “has provided gourmet food for almost every food experience we have had,” Surrey Hardcastle said.
She also noted that there are more than 25 other Harpswell organizations that have supported HAH’s food programs with space or other supports.
“They are the community; their members use our services and provide our volunteers,” said Surrey Hardcastle. “The venues are small nonprofits as well, but they have welcomed us with open arms. We literally could not do what we do without them.”
For more information about Harpswell Aging at Home, visit its website at hah.community or find it on Facebook.