Harpswell Aging at Home volunteers display some of the produce available through the Sharing Tables program. From left: Marie Durant, Dan Hoebeke, Ellen Hoebeke and Julie Moulton.
Nothing says summer more than fresh vegetables with crumbs of the garden still clinging to their roots. However, not everyone has equal access to fresh, local, organic produce. Harpswell’s Sharing Tables seek to remedy this problem.
In 2018, the Merrymeeting Gleaners delivered food to the Harpswell Town Office every Wednesday, but because Harpswell is so spread out, driving to the Town Office for a fresh head of lettuce wasn’t practical for everyone. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic intensified food insecurity for those in need.
In July 2020, volunteers secured locations for Sharing Tables on the Neck, Orr’s Island and Cundy’s Harbor, making the program accessible to many more residents.
Each Wednesday morning from mid-June through October, weather permitting, a Harpswell Aging at Home volunteer picks up vegetable donations from Growing to Give, in Brunswick. The volunteer proceeds to Brunswick’s Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, which contributes additional vegetables and fruits; and to St. Katharine Drexel Church, in Harpswell, to pick up produce from the Harpswell Community Garden.
HAH volunteers then deliver the food to the tables at Cundy’s Harbor Community Church of the Nazarene, Orr’s Island Library, and Elijah Kellogg Church, where it is available to folks from noon until 4 p.m. Afterward, volunteers return to clean up and prepare for the next week.
Any gardener with an abundance of vegetables is encouraged to donate to the nearest Sharing Table. Anyone may take from what is offered. Patrons who arrive early are asked to remember that later arrivals would like to share the bounty. The table is not a place to leave discarded canned goods or other unwanted items.
There is a need for substitute volunteers to help with all three locations. Without them, some locations may not be available each week.
Additionally, the Community Garden needs a team of volunteers to grow and harvest there. At this time, the beds used to grow vegetables for Sharing Tables lie fallow because there is no one to nurture them. To volunteer, call Peg Newberg at 207-833-3131.
For more information, contact Julie Moulton at email@example.com or 207-330-5416.