BBN teams welcome 2016 through serviceBy Administrator
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.
A brief reminder for all Beyond Belief Network teams. Remember, levels renew on an annual basis. As of January 1, 2016, all teams have returned to Level 0. Don’t forget to submit event reports for 2016 Taking a few minutes to fill out our brief, online form can help your team earn perks such as t-shirts and grants.
Beyond Belief Network would like to welcome two new teams: Baltimore Ethical Society and Women’s Secular Group of Southern California. BBN can’t wait to hear about each team’s service events!
Last month, Omaha Atheists, a Level 1 team, cooked a meal for the youth at Youth Emergency Services of Omaha. Youth Emergency Services provide support and resources to homeless and at-risk youth. One of the pictures they submitted with their event report won December Picture of the Month. In a separate service event also held that month, Omaha Atheists created twelve purses with hygiene supplies, food, gloves, hats, Chapstick, cough drops, feminine hygiene products, and band aids. The purses were donated along with two totes of clothes and additional hygiene products to a local women's shelter.
The December Team of the Month was Level 2 team, Lehigh Valley Humanists (LVH). Giovanni Landi, an LVH member, owns Pies On Pizzeria in Catasauqua, PA. For a third year, he's opened his kitchen on Christmas Day to cook turkeys and hams in his pizza ovens and serve free meals to shut-ins, the poor and the homeless. Along with other members of the community, LVH supplied volunteers to help prepare and deliver meals. In 2015, this initiative delivered nearly 400 meals! All leftover food was taken by two LVH members to a shelter for homeless veterans in Bethlehem, PA. The team considers this a great way for non-believers to help people in need on their holiday. In December, team members, as well as volunteers from the Northampton Community College Secular Student Alliance, helped renovate a building purchased by the LGBT community in their area as a future Community Center for health services, legal aid, and social activities. The team also cleaned, scrubbed and outfitted a six-bed unit at the 6th Street Shelter in Bethlehem, PA.
Two members of Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) volunteered as Housewarmers in December 2015 at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Columbus, OH. RMH provides housing and meals to families with children being treated at Nationwide Children's Hospital and other area hospitals. Housewarmers work with guests to provide a home-like environment. The Level 3 team's eleven Housewarmers have contributed 638.1 hours to date.
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless (ATXAHH), a Level 3 team, ended 2015 with another successful donation drive and giveaway! In December, ATXAHH collected 4,142 items. Several hats, scarves, and wash cloths were also donated by ATXAHH Gettin' Knotty. In late December, 40 ATXAHH volunteers distributed basic living items to 172 people in their community experiencing homelessness. Also in December, ATXAHH and Learning Without Limits Book Club, an Austin-area homeschool group, joined forces to create and collect 55 holiday gift bags and boxes. Items included toiletries, snacks, hats, scarves, holiday candy, and handwritten cards and notes. ATXAHH volunteers carried them in their cars and distributed to those in need.
In early December, members of Corpus Christi Atheists assembled and distributed 1,500 gift bags to primarily low-income children during Navidad de los Ninos, an annual Christmas event. Children received fruit, toys and got free pictures with Santa. Later that month, the Level 3 team removed litter from their adopted park, Oak Park. On Christmas Eve, twenty team members collected and distributed items to local homeless including clothes, food, personal items and toys for children.
Last month, Yale Humanist Community partnered with Clemente Leadership Academy to provide a monthly after-school STEAMMM (Science, technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Medicine Mentoring) activity for their middle school-aged students. The program is designed to foster an interest in STEAMM fields and an understanding of how important and useful STEAMM is for society in the students.
In mid-December, eight members of Minnesota Atheists volunteered at The Family Place, a local shelter. They made a chicken dinner for fourteen children and thirteen adults. The volunteers purchased the ingredients, prepared the meal and dined with the guests. After the meal, they cleaned the kitchen and dishes as well as packed the leftovers. In a separate service event at The Food Group, a food bank in Minneapolis, MN, the Level 3 team packed 717 mini-meals. These mini-meals contain an assortment of frozen meats and green beans sold at various locations in the Twin Cities area for 30-40% off grocery store prices. It's enough food to serve 2,868 people! For their fifth year, team members collected hundreds of toys to donate to the Children's Hospital of Minnesota. The team reports that each year they attract more members and collect more toys. During the 2015 holiday season, the team filled a pickup with toys! Each gift bag was packed with toys, books and other items for kids of all ages.
In early December, Level 3 team, Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families, hosted a fundraiser for their local Navigators Scouts, a secular and coed group with a focus on healthy minds and bodies. The team's event consisted of a poker tournament, a raffle drawing, and social/ interaction time with the scout leader to learn more about the Navigators. The event was a success with $346.54 contributed that night. Additionally, Pikes Peak used one of their BBN grants and received matching funds of $250, donating a total of $596.54!
While Central New York Humanist Association (CNYHA), a Level 1 team, may have completed their Fall Food Drive in October 2015, they submitted the results last month. The team raised 352 pounds of food and $167.72 for the Food Bank of Central New York. That's a total of 832 meals! Individuals brought non-perishable items to CNYHA events, and the team shared the link to their Virtual Food Drive page on the Food Bank of Central New York site.
Ten members of Pennsylvania Nonbelievers in Harrisburg, PA removed trash along their adopted 1 1/2 mile section of a local highway in early December.
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.