Surrey Hardcastle of Harpswell will be recognized with the Maine Council on Aging’s Trailblazing Advocate Award.

The Trailblazing Advocate Award recognizes the contributions of community members who, in the face of COVID-19, have responded through actions in incredible and innovative ways to make Maine a safer place for us all to age with dignity, health, purpose and security.

For four years, Hardcastle has chaired the Food Team of Harpswell Aging at Home, a volunteer organization. Hardcastle had been leading Lunch With Friends, a free weekly lunch program that serves thousands of volunteer-cooked meals yearly. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, she shifted gears to a take-out lunch format called Meals-To-Go.

Every Tuesday, from mid-March through the end of June, Surrey and her team of 100 volunteers prepared meals that were dropped off at a central location and then picked up by Lunch With Friendsregulars or distributed to homebound people. During this time, they served 5,555 meals to 2,208 people, remarkable in a town of 5000.

Also recognized is Lynn Steed, a member of Age Friendly Saco and a volunteer with the Saco Food Pantry.

Maine Council on Aging will recognize Hardcastle, Steed and other honorees at the council’s upcoming virtual Wisdom Summit – Aging Well Through COVID, Sept. 16-23.

“2020 has been a year that has challenged us all to be our best selves, to be agile, compassionate, and resilient,” said Jess Maurer, the council’s executive director. “During this year of unrelenting change, we have been inspired by so many Mainers who have risen to this challenge with innovative spirits and genuine kindness. Our 2020 awards honor leaders who stepped up in remarkable ways to ensure older adults were able to get what they needed while they were staying safe at home.”

The Maine Council on Aging is a broad, multi-disciplinary network of more than 100 organizations, businesses, municipalities. Its policy priorities focus on healthy aging, including safe, affordable housing, access to supports, services and care in the right setting at the right time, safe, reliable transportation, and food and income security.

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