Harpswell Aging at Home celebrates the many community members who contribute their time and talents at an annual volunteer appreciation event.
The heart and soul of the Harpswell Aging at Home organization is its volunteers. Drawing on their own interests and skills, volunteers bring life to HAH’s mission of “helping people thrive while aging at home.”
Janet Alexander has volunteered for HAH in a variety of capacities. Last fall, the retired yoga instructor led a chair yoga class as part of the pilot program Friends Together. “I want to make yoga accessible to everyone who wants to do it,” Alexander said. “It was a great class — we all really loved it.”
Maura Donovan and Elaine Baur love to handwrite notes. Each month they write notecards to accompany Meals in a Pinch deliveries.
“I write a handwritten note to my sister every day, so volunteering for HAH in this capacity lets me do more of what I enjoy,” Baur said. Baur often picks a theme revolving around a season, something in the natural environment, or a Shakespeare quote to focus on when writing cards.
Donovan also does a lot of personal writing. She uses nature and wildlife as her inspiration. “It’s good for me to keep the creative juices flowing,” Donovan said. “Nothing gives me more pleasure than getting a personal piece of mail. I hope the HAH recipients get that kind of feeling — that someone thought of me.”
Lifelong Harpswell resident Marie Durant loves cooking and became involved with Meals in a Pinch. In addition to cooking for Meals in a Pinch, Durant packages the meals every other week and helps with the food-sharing table in Cundy’s Harbor, where residents can pick up fruits and vegetables donated by gardeners from June to October.
Durant also teams up with Cheryl Dunning, pastor of the Great Island Church of the Nazarene, to organize Lunch with Friends and Snacks with Friends when those events come to Cundy’s Harbor.
“There’s something about helping other people that makes me feel warm inside,” Durant said. “I like the people and am so happy to be part of this organization. There is no ‘I’ in teamwork!”
Transportation to appointments can be a lifeline for many residents. Upon indicating their interest with HAH, drivers register with People Plus in Brunswick and pick up driving assignments occasionally or on a regular basis.
Joe Neuhof gets enjoyment from driving a passenger to her appointment one day a week every other month.
“I really like driving someone I’ve gotten to know who shares wonderful stories and insightful perspectives,” Neuhof said. “She often tells me things I end up thinking about for days.”
On a personal note, after I moved to Harpswell with my husband, I started volunteering with HAH, ultimately writing articles about HAH’s volunteers and services. Getting involved with HAH has helped me meet people in town and quickly learn more about the community.
HAH volunteers say their service is as beneficial to them as they hope it is to the residents of Harpswell. HAH’s many committees have volunteer opportunities to meet all kinds of interests, with a wide range of time commitments. For example, our communications team is looking for writers and social media folks. New ideas are also welcome!
Want to learn more? HAH will host a volunteer fair on May 10 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Orr’s Island Schoolhouse. Drop by and find out the many ways you can get involved or visit hah.community for more information.