January Beyond Belief Network Roundup!

Teams in our Food Security Project (FSP) held 52 events in January, distributing 24,495 pounds of food and serving 12,197 individual beneficiaries! Additional teams in the Beyond Belief Network (BBN) held 13 events.

Recognitions

Team of the Month goes to Houston Freethought Oasis (above) for their work sorting and boxing food for distribution at a local food bank, as well as sorting books for an end-of-school year event where kids get to pick books for free!

Picture of the Month (above) goes to Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix from their work doing food prep with Project Roots Community Kitchen! Project Roots focuses on ways to educate the community about growing their own food through various educational programs. They support people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity by feeding them from their community gardens and mobile kitchen service. HSGP contributed onions, garlic, bay leaves, coconut milk, coconut cream, garlic, and kitchen gloves. They also gave gardening gloves and a shovel for the community gardens. Soup was made for distribution to approximately 100 people.

 

Team Reports

North Orlando Oasis

This Florida FSP team did a few events:

  • A Mutual Aid Garden Club, where volunteers installed 64 square feet of vegetable gardens and 7 fruit trees. They also distributed 60 cups of starter seeds and 6 plant starts, plus gardening information and ideas on growing the community! Volunteers also attended classes on urban agriculture and permaculture.
  • Staffing a hydration site for the Health West Orange 5k at Oakland Nature Preserve. Dozens of families came out despite near-freezing temperatures!
  • Picking up 150 pounds of produce from Connecting Care Kitchens and delivering 150 meals to people at a domestic violence shelter!

 

Central Florida Freethought Community

This Beyond Belief Network team cleaned up two miles of their adopted highway, then had fellowship at a nearby café!

 

Southeastern Virginia Atheists, Skeptics & Humanists (SEVASH)

SEVASH built and maintains two free food pantries along with a few other local organizations. This month 11 known volunteers contributed 381 pounds of food at a cost of $337. With funds received from FBB, SEVASH was better able to reimburse contributors, recruit a new volunteer, and to increase the amount of food contributed.

 

Atheists United

This Food Security Project team sorted 4,626 pounds of groceries into 120 food kits and distributed it to food insecure people in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown. They served 421 people in January.

Later they met to clean up their adopted stretches of State Route 2 and Highway 405.

 

Humanists of Tallahassee

This Food Security Project team collaborated four times with a local progressive church (Trinity United Methodist) to distribute snack and hygiene packs to their unhoused neighbors. Packs included granola bars, water, applesauce, pudding, peanut butter crackers, Vienna sausages, washcloths, soap, shampoo, deodorant, razors, toothbrush, toothpaste, period products, and socks.

 

Austin Humanists at Work (ATXHAW)

This Texas Food Security Project team met a whopping 13 times to make deliveries to various food pantries and charities, as well as to serve hot meals to people who needed them.

One of their beneficiaries just started work at a Goodwill because of a connection they made at ATXHAW’s events and paid the favor forward by volunteering at a distribution!

 

Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT)

This BBN team volunteered at the Van Buren Center shelter for unhoused people. Four volunteers prepared and served food for a total of 8 hours. So far, 110 COUNT volunteers have worked 1,269 hours at 84 events at this location to date.

 

Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP)

In addition to the above-mentioned community garden project, HSGP met to crochet plarn sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness. It takes 500-700 plastic bags to complete one of these comfortable, durable mats that measure 6 feet by 2.5 feet. HSGP taught 2 new attendees how to crochet, and several folks took supplies home to work on mats until the next meetup. Three finished mats were taken to a social service provider along with feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, assorted toiletries, hand wipes, blanket throws, t-shirts, gloves, and 25 bus passes!

Finally, HSGP held a blood drive at the request the local Red Cross, filling 37 out of 42 requested appointments and collecting 30 units (smashing their 23 unit goal)!

 

Fellowship of Freethought Dallas (FOF)

Each month, this BBN team gets together at White Rock Lake to pick up trash along the shoreline. 10 volunteers picked up litter this month for 3 hours.

 

Atheist Community of Polk County (ACPC)

This Food Security Project team…

  • Met three times for Street Warriors, a community food/essentials giveaway project. Along with hot meals, volunteers handed out blankets, socks, hygiene kits, feminine pads, and condoms.
  • Met twice for Weekends Without Hunger, ACPC’s own collection and giveaway of food supplies for kids in need at a local elementary school.
  • Met twice to clean their 2.2 mile stretch of adopted highway, picking up at least 13 bags of trash.

 

Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI)

Here’s a roundup of what this large Food Security Project team was up to in January:

  • A meal and gift-giving event in Bulacan where kids got presents and a brunch consisting of 50 homemade cheeseburgers, 50 cups of champorado (rice porridge with cocoa powder and milk), and 50 bottles of water.
  • A “Snacks and Smiles” program where volunteers handed out similar amounts of food and water to workers and children on the streets.
  • A “HAPI Day” feeding program that provides nutritious meals to selected vulnerable beneficiaries. The team considers this to be their most important project. Hospital patients and frontliners in isolation due to COVID exposure received 100 packs of meals and fresh produce sponsored by a local bakery.

 

Kenya Humanist Alliance

This Food Security Project team has been steadily adding new events since they joined our network last year! In January they had 8 different giveaway events, serving particularly vulnerable people experiencing poverty, malnutrition, and other hardships in various walks of life. Donations included fruit pudding salads for malnourished hospital patients; cabbages for folks living slums; books for students; and bulk food for widows, orphans, and people with disabilities. They also ploughed farms where they are growing vegetables for their programs.

The team wrote in their monthly report: “Currently, Kenya is experiencing drought and famine which has made many families to go without meals. In the Northern and Eastern parts of the country, many deaths are being occasioned by famine/malnutrition. Families lack access to clean water, nutrition, and medication. Livestock and wildlife have died in thousands. Through these support from Foundation Beyond Belief and Beyond Belief Network, we shall be reaching out to such very people, regardless of their religious background, ethnicity, or race.”

 

Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless

This FSP team continued doing what they do best: a big monthly giveaway of food and essentials for people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers packed 150 bags (a task the team says they got done in record time) and handed them out on a seriously cold, windy day. They said their clients were thrilled not only to receive the supplies, but also piping hot coffee and chocolate.

 

Food Rescue Alliance teams

Four of affiliates of our major grantee Food Rescue Alliance are among the volunteer teams receiving grants in the Food Security Project. Here’s what they’ve been up to:

360 Eats

This Florida group met in partnership with neighborhood community centers four times to pack and serve meals to people experiencing food insecurity. Their impact ranged between 20 to 100 people per food service!

 

The Food Drive

This Melrose, Massachusetts team started 2022 with a bang, distributing 17,500 pounds of food in ten communities and continuing their practice of hyperlocal rescue with new donor and recipient pairings. They added a new Whole Foods location as a donor and matched them with a soup kitchen five miles away in Lynn, Massachusetts, where 20% of residents live below the poverty level. They also added a new Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Malden, which now provides meals for the a nearby dinner program. Sweet Spot Bakery in Melrose also joined as a donor, and their baked goods will provide dessert for Saturday evenings at a local warming center.

Volunteers rescued and delivered food in the midst of the frigid conditions of a New England January. The team says “[volunteers’] commitment to recovering good food from landfills and feeding our community instead inspires us every day.”

CORMII Community Development Corporation

This North Carolina team usually meets each Thursday for an evening curbside food distribution. In January, weather only permitted them to meet twice, but they were still able to pack and give out 408 meals to 34 kids and 68 adults.

 

CAFÉ Food Rescue

This Summit County, Colorado team has an ongoing project collecting food at a local Starbucks and making it available via coolers in a community care clinic. They just added a new Starbucks and an Einstein’s Bagels to the project and they’re gearing up to contact more potential food donors. CAFÉ estimates they collected 900 pounds of food in January. This food went to a community clinic and numerous food pantries.

CAFÉ is also working with Food Bank of the Rockies to become an intermediary food collector so they can help their partner social service agencies that are receiving food through the grocery rescue program.

They’re also working with Food Rescue Alliance on the development of the software Rootable, which helps with organizing and tracking food pick-ups and deliveries.  They’re hoping to develop “badges” so that volunteers can be qualified to do different things like making in-home deliveries and packaging food.


Sponsor one of these hard-working teams by setting up a recurring donation of $100 per month.