BRUNSWICK, Maine — A 78-year-old Mainer is taking her age to new heights.
"People don't have to do what I do," Rita Losee said. "What I want them to do is be able to look at me and say, 'Hmmm, I wonder what I can do.'"
Losee, 78, is hiking 400 miles hoping to raise $50,000 for the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn.
"There are lots of people in this state, both seniors and younger, who are food insecure, so it's pretty important we get adequate food to people," said Losee.
The Good Shepherd Food Bank said recently that at this time last year, there were 180,000 Mainers in need of more food. This year, that number is expected to grow to 215,000.
"COVID-19 has certainly caused there to be a greater need," said Robin McCarthy of Good Shepherd Food Bank. "Many of our partners across the state are reporting seeing more people -- people they've never seen before in need of food."
The food bank said $50,000 would help purchase food to feed nearly 1,800 families for a week, or it could purchase more than 130,000 pounds of fresh produce.
"You can have a long-term impact instead of just putting meals on someone's table today. It can go a great distance in addressing the long-term root causes of hunger in our state," said McCarthy.
Losee, of Brunswick, said she has always loved hiking. She plans to hike five miles a day until the end of March.
"I just love being outdoors. I love being active," said Losee.
Her other goal is to get people her age out and moving, which she said is now more important than ever.
"I look at some of my high school classmates or people in my age group who are in the grocery store and they can hardly move. And I walk along like I did when I was in my 30s," said Losee.
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