Beyond Belief Network Teams dive into 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.
Members of Corpus Christi Atheists braved rain and cold weather to help with efforts to recycle Christmas trees in their city of Corpus Christi, TX. The trees will be turned into mulch and given away to residents. Corpus Christi Atheists also helped plant trees in a low income neighborhood as part of a city beautification project. A picture from that recent event is January’s Picture of the Month!
Six Central Ohio United Non-Theists or COUNT volunteers worked as Housewarmers a total of 27.5 hours in December 2014 at the Columbus Ohio Ronald McDonald House (RMH). RMH provides housing and meals to families with children being treated at Nationwide Childrens Hospital and other area hospitals. Housewarmers work with our guests to provide a home-like environment. Their responsibilities include greeting guests, assisting with family needs, answering phones, giving tours, assisting with check-in/checkout, preparing guest rooms after checkout, cleaning the facility, doing laundry, restocking supplies and staffing the front desk. Their ten Housewarmers try to volunteer at least one four-hour shift a month and have contributed 463 hours to date.
Throughout the past few months, Central New York Humanist Association collected 194 pounds of food at their events and raised $120 through their virtual food drive to support the hunger-relief mission of the Food Bank of Central New York. The Food Bank of Central New York is a non-profit organization that works to eliminate hunger through nutritious food distribution, education, and advocacy in cooperation with the community. Central New York Humanist Association's donations will provide 582 meals for people in the community.
Between December 18, 2014 and January 18, 2015, Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless collected and sorted nearly $2,700 worth of items to distribute to people who are living at or below the poverty line and are homeless. Items included personal toiletries, prepackaged snacks, books, magazines, clothing and winter accessories. Forty-two volunteers attended their giveaway on January 18th and served 143 people in line. Over a dozen volunteers were first-timers. It's a new volunteer record for ATXAHH.
Every other month, volunteers from Seattle Atheists work a three-hour shift at Food Lifeline, a Seattle food-rescue organization that collects food that might otherwise end up in a landfill. This includes food from farms, grocery stores, restaurants and manufacturers. The food is then sorted and packaged for distribution to food banks, shelters, and meal programs. This month, they repacked eight pallets (2,976 pounds) of frozen french fries into family-size packages for distribution to food banks throughout western Washington. Members of Seattle Atheists also staffed a free gift-wrap station at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Bellevue, WA, for four days in December. This is a fundraiser they've done for the past several years. They collected $634 in donations, all of which was donated to Seattle Children's Hospital. The Seattle Times wrote a holiday article that included a profile of the group's president, Ericka Johnson.
Pennsylvania Nonbelievers hosted their Winter Solstice Fundraiser in December 2014. They raised a total of $384.34. Half of this amount will be donated to Foundation Beyond Belief, while the rest will go to the "Atheists Fight Hunger" project. Pennsylvania Nonbelievers ended 2014 as a Level 2 team.
Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI), BBN’s first international team, was busy in December 2014. HAPI launched a disaster relief effort to help swiftly recover the residents of a small, often overlooked sitio in Ormoc City where Typhoon Hagupit barrelled through. HAPI-Cebu, spearheaded by its lead convener Rea Yanez, assisted the affected residents of the sitio Brgy. Nadongholan. They were supervised by the barangay captain Monchu de Paz. Over 250 relief packs were distributed to the residents of this very small sitio. They contained kilos of rice, biscuits, canned goods and beverages. HAPI also started a monthly outreach program that aims to both feed and educate 200+ children in slum areas. It is being spearheaded by Jamie del Rosario Martinez, a HAPI member. It passed HAPI's evaluation test after they successfully fed 200 children with a measly budget. They aim to do more than just feed children when they get more funding. They have a lot of plans for the children in the pipeline. Next month, HAPI will educate the children on basic ways to be financially independent when they grow up, and teach many more skills.
Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families in Colorado Springs, CO support many organizations in their area. One of their favorites is Black Forest Animal Sanctuary, an all animal rehabilitation, sanctuary and shelter. In December 2014, they ran a volunteer day at their location. Fifteen volunteers attended. They were able to install a new fence and some skirting on a trailer, put up a new isolation pen for newly arrived dogs, feed the fowl and goats, clean the goat pen, walk the dogs and clean out a horse pen. Volunteers also brushed, hoof picked, walked two ponies and six horses. They even rescued a turkey from bailing twine that was wrapped all around his feet, and "rescued" a mouse from the fowl feed. PPA and PPAF also helped the sanctuary when unusually frigid cold weather hit in November 2014. In extreme temperatures, horses can eat twice as much in a day. The current market price of a bale of hay is $15. PPA and PPAF ran a drive to encourage people to “buy-a-bale”, in other words to donate $15 to help them with the cost of horse feed. They succeeded in collecting $75 that the team were able to contribute toward the purchase of 5 bales of hay.
The team also launched a program in late 2014 to help those in need in their community. Some of their successes include helping a low-income family and their roommate move, helping a woman find donated furniture for her unfurnished apartment, and running a clothing drive on behalf of a single mother.
In a final service event, one of the team's community members works with people who are in a corrections environment. This is a place where people who have been incarcerated are in the process of reintegrating into regular society. Basically, the clients are still under custody, minus the bars. Many of them (men and women) come with only the clothes on their backs -they have to walk to work release or job searches and the dining hall, etc-in the cold Colorado winter, commonly with no coats or warm clothes. This member requested donations for these individuals. In all, PPA & PPAF collected about 100 items, including coats, gloves, hats and scarves and work clothes for women. All of these events have pushed Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families into Level Three for 2014! They were also our January Team of the Month.
Earlier this month, ten members of Minnesota Atheists braved a terrible storm to pack 223 boxes of food at The Food Group, a secular non-profit organization. This provided enough food to feed 812 people! Recently, twelve members of Minnesota Atheists also planned a meal, purchased food and cooked for a group of twenty homeless men, women and children at The Family Place, a shelter in St. Paul, MN.
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.