January Volunteer Network Roundup!By GO Humanity
Teams in our Food Security Project (FSP) reported 50 events in January, serving 3,672 individual beneficiaries and giving out 5,856 meals!
Additional GO Humanity Service Teams held 16 more service events.
Welcome new teams:
- Chania Primary School in Njabini, Kenya
- OLOUGUELEMO in Orsongo, Bandiagara, Mali
- Committee Of Humanists For Safe Water And Food Sustenance in Zaria, North/North Central Nigeria
- Katumba Parents’ Humanist Nursery and Primary School in Bundibugyo, Uganda
Photo of the Month comes from Blue Trunk Garden Network in central Florida. They opened a greenhouse tradepost where people can get seeds and seedlings to grow their own veggies, fruit, and medicinal herbs!
Team of the Month is Kasese Humanist School in Kasese, Uganda.
They’ve been feeding impoverished people in their community vegetables grown from their own gardens, including amaranth, peanuts, beans, corn and sweet potatoes. In January, they expanded their gardens, planted seeds, and harvested food—enough to keep their operation stocked for two months. Thriving plants include chili, garden eggs, egg plants, sukuma, and some fruit trees.
Phoenix Atheists Helping the Homeless
This team in Arizona performed their twice-monthly distribution of toiletries and hygiene items to unsheltered people in Phoenix’s Hance Park area. At these giveaways, volunteers assist those who attend in “shopping” for their needs. There is always hot coffee in the winter and snack items available as well.
They also learned that because the Super Bowl NFL Experience was in town, police had been threatening unsheltered people in the area. Team members walked the streets to get the story from those impacted so they could strategize accordingly.
The Food Drive
This team in Melrose, MA has been a great example of the term hyperlocal—making 35 to 40 deliveries each week, all within a 10-mile radius. Their mission has had the greatest impact within the closest proximity, so their staff and volunteers quite literally have been driving food from the point of potential waste to the point of need. At each pickup site, they sort and match rescued food to the specific needs of each recipient location, then transport directly from Point A to Point B. Food is in their vehicles roughly the same amount of time as a trip to the grocery store.
For their twice-monthly No Cost Grocery Store program, The Food Drive brought 350 pounds of fresh healthy food from Whole Foods to the lobby of senior housing facility the Steele House, a three-minute journey. Each week in January they delivered prepared food and groceries from a general store to a pantry a block away. And volunteers made frequent trips to another pantry located two blocks from their home office.
That makes 152 total rescues for the month!
Southeastern Virginia Atheists, Skeptics & Humanists (SEVASH)
SEVASH maintains two Little Free Pantries in the towns of Newport News and Norfolk. In January, 11 known volunteers contributed 554 pounds of food at a cost of $493. With funds from GO Humanity, they were better able to reimburse contributors and increase contribution levels.
CAFE Food Rescue
When their area’s largest food pantry can’t distribute fast enough, they call CAFE Food Rescue to get it out through their food access partners! This happened last month with 54 half-gallons of milk. Altogether, they rescued 2,914 pounds of food.
The team is also catching up with a lot of logistics and systems building. They’re working on insurance, volunteer management systems, and procedures.
Central Florida Freethought Community
This team cleaned up their adopted stretch of highway!
SociologyEats! is part of the sociology department at Texas A&M University. In January, they distributed $600 in cash assistance to students who requested help with food and living expenses!
Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP)
This team in Arizona met for their Good for Nothing! community meeting, which encourages people in the neighborhood to participate in service activities. Later, they did some repairs on their Little Free Library and stocked it with books celebrating diversity and equity. A member made wate color paintings with uplifting messages, which were placed in the books.
They also kept their Little Free Pantry stocked with items to reduce weather-related illness and hunger. About 6 members stop by throughout the week to fill it. They place a mix of shelf-stable, non-perishable food that is ready to take and eat, along with food that can be taken home to make. They have bilingual signs and a suggestion box on the fridge for feedback.
In January, recent increases in funding through our Food Security Project allowed HSGP to purchase more food and food with more nutritional value.
Volunteers also met to crochet plarn sleeping mats for unhoused people. 14 people came in January and two new mats were completed for donation to Phoenix’ Human Services Campus.
HSGP also partners with Arizona State University’s Project Humanities for their twice-monthly giveaway. Each event, they distribute clothing and other items to 150-200 unsheltered adults. Because of MLK Day and Weekend of Service, there were 84 volunteers—one shy of the record of 85. HSGP accounted for six of those volunteers, helping clients find nice outfits. 174 clients were served.
HSGP also held a blood drive, collecting 33 units, surpassing their 24 unit goal!
For their next trick, HSGP plans to start a men’s clothing donation drive!
This team in Safety Harbor, FL served 100 nutritious meals to food insecure people in partnership with the MLK Jr. Neighborhood Center and Volunteers of America. They served two locations: a low-income senior site and the North Greenwood food desert in Clearwater.
Central New York Humanist Association
This team in upstate New York met at a local school to make sandwiches, which they handed out in a park along with toiletries, clothes, and other necessities to people who needed help!
CORMII Community Development Corporation
This team in Rockingham County, North Carolina meets every Thursday to hold a curbside food distribution. In January, they packaged 1,827 pounds of food, of which 1,395 pounds were donated.
Central Florida Mutual Aid (CFLMA)
In collaboration with The Center Orlando and above-mentioned Blue Trunk Garden Network, CFLMA volunteers collected hats, blankets, hand warmers, gloves, and socks to distribute to unhoused community members facing near-freezing temperatures. Food, hot coffee, and hot cocoa were also distributed.
Volunteers distributed items Friday and Saturday nights to unhoused folx in dangerous temperatures. Cold weather shelters were overfull and dozens of people were unable to access them. Altogether they gave out:
- 268 jackets
- 8 pants
- 48 blankets
- 100 thermals
- 108 hygiene kits
- 70 hand warmers
- 2 cannisters of coffee
- 2 cannisters hot water
- 100 hot cocoa packets
- 100lbs of nonperishable food items
Later in the month, they held two food distributions for families. Volunteers rescued food from a partner meal service and distributed it wherever needed, including low-income neighborhoods; communities of unhoused neighbors; Title IX schools; and other areas where people experience food insecurity.
They also performed four produce rescues for families through local partner Connecting Care Kitchens. Volunteers rescued surplus produce from local farms and delivered it to an elementary school to provide to the families of food-insecure students.
Finally, CFLMA met each week for their Farm Produce for Shelters program with Connecting Care Kitchens. They bought 400 pounds of produce from local organic farms and delivered it to shelters.
Atheists Helping the Homeless DC
This team in Washington, DC held their monthly distribution event, giving away over 50 hygiene kits containing socks, nonperishable food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, safety razors, shaving cream, and more. Blankets, jackets, gloves, and pull-over hats were also distributed, thanks in part to donations from Northern Virginia Ethical Society.
Clients spoke to volunteers about the cold weather and how it affected where they slept. Some slept rough but found abandoned houses or storage lockers. Some slept in temporary warming shelters.
Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI)
This team has chapters all over the Philippines. Here’s what they were up to in January:
- Cleaning the HAPI Green Garden: Volunteers in the Alabang chapter trimmed the grass, cleaned the area, and watered the plants and vegetables. Lack of manpower and a reliable source of water was a problem recently, but now everything is back on schedule.
- Textbook distribution: There is no easy access to public libraries in the Philippines, so volunteers distributed pre-loved textbooks providing additional information for school subjects that the children are taking. Many elementary and middle school students looked for math and science books while high school students looked for books about literature, economics, and advanced math subjects. All were encouraged to take a book or two for siblings or friends.
- Reading Rooms in Alabang and Bulacan: A program where kids learned about kindness and the effects of their actions on others. 23 kids participated and received food.
- “A Night with the Unsheltered”: Bulacan chapter volunteers went to Poblacion, Malolos City to distribute 80 pre-packed meals, 60 ensaymada (brioche buns with butter and sugar), 80 packed biscuits, and 100 bottles of water. Tricycles drivers and street sweepers were also given food and snacks, bringing the total of beneficiaries to 160 people.
- Anti-Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign and Workshop: An anti-human trafficking awareness campaign and workshop.
- A food giveaway to Indigenous people: feeding 65 people in the Agta tribe with chicken sopas (macaroni soup), bread, and juice. The Agta live in the mountain part of Bulacan, which has recently been turning into a tourist spot, robbing the Agta of their tribal tradition.
Susquehanna Valley Ethical Society (SVES)
Volunteers with this Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania team volunteered for food bank The Food Hub, sorting boxes of food, checking donations for freshness and safety, and stocking shelves.
Humanists of West Florida
Humanists of West Florida works beside other groups on a weekly basis to provide food, clothing, toiletries to people in need. They distributed about 48 bags of nutrition at each of their four events in January.
Humanists of Tallahassee
This Florida team met twice a week to assemble and distribute snack and hygiene packs consisting of a granola bar, water, applesauce, pudding, peanut butter crackers, Vienna sausages, washcloth, soap, shampoo, deodorant, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, period products, and socks.
Central Florida Freethought Community
Central Florida Freethought Community removed debris at Kewannee Park and accompanying areas in Casselberry, FL.
Kenya Humanist Alliance
Kenya Humanist Alliance in Kisumu County started the month by donating feminine hygiene products to impoverished teenage girls and diapers to families with babies. This included packaging the items for delivery to girls living far from the team’s office.
Kenya has been experiencing famine due to low rainfall and prolonged drought in 2022. So Kenya Humanist Alliance has also been using the grants we’ve been sending them as a Food Security Project team to raise chickens for eggs to feed orphans, and harvested maize to feed widows. In January, they dried a bag weighing 60 kg of maize.
Kenya Humanist Alliance also supplied certified mosquito coils to children to reduce malaria, and student volunteers prepared mandazi to feed orphans.
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT)
COUNT volunteers worked their ongoing monthly shifts at The Ronald McDonald House, which provides housing and meals for families with sick children. COUNT volunteers have contributed 1,964 hours from the start of their involvement with RMH in 2013.
COUNT also volunteered at the Van Buren Center shelter, serving dinners and cleaning up on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. 113 team members have worked 1,318 hours at 95 events at the Van Buren Center to date.
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless (AHH)
Volunteers from this Texas team hit up various Austin, TX locales to distribute supplies and assistance to those experiencing homeless. Due to heightened needs, they’re planning to distribute at least 250 bags of food and other material aid at each giveaway.