By Elizabeth Minutello, Beyond Belief Network intern
Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups volunteering in their communities and raising money for FBB’s featured charities and programs. Any group with a public secular humanist or atheist identity is welcome to join, regardless of experience or group size. In March, BBN’s community service theme is Community Gardens.
The Humanist Community at Harvard recently organized an event called, “Faces of Homelessness: Cards and Scarves.” HCH welcomed representatives from the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance and the Massachusetts Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau to share their experiences with being homeless and to break down stereotypes. Following the speakers, HCH members made 256 fleece scarves and wrote encouraging cards for the homeless. HCH also hosted a winter clothing drive for people to donate items to the Friends of Boston’s Homeless.
Humanist Community of Central Ohio supported one of their members when she was facing a crisis. After struggling with her finances and health, this member set up an online funding page. HCCO shared the link among their membership. Although most of the donors were anonymous, some funds were donated by members of HCCO and another BBN team, Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT). The member needed $2,910 to cover six months of back rent. In six days, she raised $3,600. She continues to receive additional support from community members. HCCO also hosted a Bleed & Feed (group blood donation and dinner) event. They had eight successful blood donors at the Red Cross Donor Center. They also had non-bleeding volunteers offer moral support and encouragement. This event was covered in the Columbus Dispatch and a mention on Friendly Atheist.
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless continued their team’s monthly service event. They collected and distributed books, snacks, clothing, and accessories to 65 members of Austin’s homeless community.
Upstate Atheists met at the Greer Soup Kitchen to serve the underprivileged. When they arrived, the prepared meals were still frozen. None of the staff on hand knew how to cook. Luckily, a culinary-minded member of Upstate Atheists planned a meal and delegated tasks. She helped to make enough food to feed 150 people in less than an hour! Upstate Atheists have been invited by Greer Soup Kitchen to return for a future volunteer opportunity. Upstate Atheists also had their first Adopt-A-Highway Clean Up in Greenville, SC. Although only two members were available to clean both sides of their new two-mile stretch of road, they collected four bags of trash.
If you are a member of a secular humanist or atheist group and would like to participate in community service projects under the national umbrella of Foundation Beyond Belief, join Beyond Belief Network. We welcome all atheist groups interested in service, from groups with extensive volunteer experience to newly formed groups new to secular service. By aggregating our efforts, we demonstrate that all we really need is charity and goodness to make the world a better place.