March GO Teams Roundup!By GO Humanity
Teams in our Food Security Project (FSP) reported 37 events in March, serving 12,724 individual beneficiaries and giving out at least 619 meals! Additional GO Humanity Service Teams (GO Teams) held 13 more service events.
Team of the Month goes to Northwestern Chicagoland Humanist Crew! This team collected 400 items—clothing, shoes, and blankets—for Ukrainian refugees in Poland, and mailed them via Give Back Box. They also made and delivered 40 meals to Lake County Haven, a shelter for women and children.
Photo of the Month (above) is a shot from North Orlando Oasis’ Mutual Aid Garden Club! Volunteers joined with urban agriculture nonprofit Fleet Farming to weed and harvest 30 pounds of veggies—sweet potatoes and radishes—for a Community Service Agriculture project in an Orlando food desert. They also collected a dozen plant starts and cuttings as well as 20+ seeds for propagation and distribution to community members.
Food Security Project team reports
These teams receive monthly grants from GO Humanity for the work outlined below.
Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP)
Serving humans in need! Recycling and helping the planet! Teaching and learning new skills! That’s what HSGP’s sleeping mat crocheting project is all about. Volunteers have been meeting monthly to knit plarn sleeping mats for unsheltered people. In March, they donated 6 new mats to a local service provider, along with 15 bus passes, 2 pillows, 2 blankets, 2 sleeping bags, sheets, and an assortment of clothing and toiletries.
These Los Angelinos held their monthly food distribution at their building in Historic Filipinotown, giving 111 families (377 household members) a 35 pound food kit each!
Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI)
This organization—one of the largest teams in our network—had three initiatives in March:
- Cleaning and painting a local school campus!
- Feeding 85 children in Bulacan with stir fried noodles, veggies, and pork barbecue. The team reports many of these kids were still facing hardships from the pandemic, with their parents struggling to find new employment after shutdown-related layoffs. While they there, HAPI also advised the children on the importance of vaccinations.
- Holding a “Mama Fashionista” giveaway of clothes, shoes, and sandals to less-fortunate mothers in honor of International Women’s Month! Many garments were donated in unused condition, and the moms appreciated getting some new undergarments. (One joked “I hardly buy myself underwear; the one I’m wearing now looks like bacon!”)
25 mothers received pre-loved dresses and 10 fathers even received long sleeves and jeans!
Houston Freethought Oasis
This team sorted and boxed food for distribution at a local food bank!
Austin Texas Humanists at Work
This team met six different days to distribute hot meals to people at the Charlie Center shelter, including lasagna, yogurt, sandwiches, cake, chips, tea, waffle casserole, sack lunches, chicken alfredo, salad, rolls, donuts, milk, tacos, and $300 worth of food donated by a local caterer!
The team added several new volunteers to their roster and at least a dozen people commented on how delicious the food was.
North Orlando Oasis
In addition to running the Mutual Aid Garden Club mentioned earlier, this Florida team also removed several gallons of invasive taro root and Cesar’s weed from the Oakland Nature Preserve!
They’ve been volunteering every month to help restore the Preserve’s upland property back to its original sandhill habitat form—a process that involves lots of committed volunteers to remove invasive plants, prepare the soil, grow native plants, maintain restored areas, and monitor wildlife.
Later, the team met to fill and label 500 seed packets for the Garden Club.
Thanks to GO Humanity’s Food Security Project grant, North Orlando Oasis was able to buy enough envelopes and bulk seeds for more than 500 seed packets! They’ll share them with local community members and organizations, focusing on food deserts in Apopka, and urban garden communities/organizations serving marginalized communities throughout Central Florida. North Orlando Oasis will also list the seeds in their Mutual Aid sharing database for Central Florida residents to request.
Atheist Community of Polk County
This Florida team met twice in March for their Weekends Without Hunger program, which provides weekend food supplies to elementary school students experiencing food insecurity.
Humanists of Tallahassee (HoT)
HoT met five times for a hygiene and snack pack distribution project in collaboration with a local progressive church. They supplied their unhoused neighbors with granola bars, water, applesauce, pudding, peanut butter crakcers, Vienna sausages, washcloths, soap, shampoo, deodorant, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, period products, and socks.
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless (AHH)
Each month, these compassionate Texans sort and pack donated items, then give them away en masse to people experiencing homelessness. Last month, 13 volunteers packed and distributed 150 care bags in two locales, each containing food, toiletries, and a month-long bus pass. They also had gallons of coffee and hot water on hand for soup noodles and oatmeal.
AHH volunteers typically talk with recipients to find out more about what’s happening in their lives and get updates on police enforcement activities. At their new location, a man told them “You know, this is the first time someone has spoke to me like a human being in months.” He went on to talk about being mistreated and shunned, such as when a store owner locked their front door upon seeing him approaching, requiring him to flash a $20 bill for entrance. The team said this was a reminder that even the smallest of gestures can mean a lot.
Kenya Humanist Alliance (KHA)
This East African team has been continually escalating engagement with their community since joining the Food Security Project last year. In March they used a grant from GO Humanity for several projects:
- Donating food to 12 elderly widows in Miwani Ward, Muhoroni.
- Sharing meals with unsheltered adults and children in Kisumu City. While there, KHA members identified the leader of a group of children living on the street who had a car wash operation, and made plans to discuss how KHA can support them in making a living.
- Ploughing 2 acres of land where KHA farms maize and beans for their food relief operations. Despite a prolonged dry season, the team anticipates producing at least 30 bags of maize if the season goes well.
- Making organic fruit juice for malnourished hospital patients. A team of four volunteers blended mango, pineapple, and beetroot for distribution in various hospitals.
- Donating meals and necessities to a women’s and girls’ shelter in Kisumu City. Volunteers took ready-made meals, powdered milk for babies, soaps, sanitary towels, and sugar, among other necessities. While there, they talked with women about the barriers they face to making a living, and decided to support them in opening a salon that can provide a safe place for them to work.
- Making plans to conduct a rehabilitation program to help boys and girls living on the streets to return to a normal life free from drugs, crime, and inferiority complexes
- Donating food to widows in the Obunga Slum, which they can resell as part of a business helping them transition away from prostitution.
- Donating $394 worth of barber supplies as part of their program rehabilitating young people living on the streets
- Planting Irish Potatoes in Eldama Ravine to supplement Food Security Project programs. Potatoes are a relatively fast crop KHA can grow during Kenya’s dry spell to supplement the beans and maize upon which they usually rely. In March they bought 50kg of fertilizer, sprouting potatoes tubers, and hired labor to help volunteers. They expect a yield of at least 700 pounds over the next three months.
While KHA was out on their food relief operations, they encountered people who asked why they were “wasting” resources by helping “thugs and thieves. KHA has been doing their best to have conversations with these community members about the conditions that lead to impoverished peoples’ dirty appearances and why poverty sometimes forces them into crime.
KHA extends their deepest appreciation to GO Humanity donors who are making their efforts happen.
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:
The Food Drive
This Melrose, MA food rescue operation writes:
“March was another busy month for The Food Drive, since lines were long and shelves and fridges were often empty at the pantries we serve. Our program now has 110 total volunteers, and we’re closing in on 300,000 pounds of food rescued since we started in November 2020.
We share our stats every month, but our highest priority at The Food Drive is matching food with people for whom it will have the most impact. This month we rescued bags of sandwiches from Starbucks and muscled MANY boxes of produce from Whole Foods, and every delivery mattered. Those Starbucks sandwiches were a healthy lunch for our neighbors whose fixed incomes that don’t begin to cover escalating grocery prices. Those produce boxes went a long way toward meals for elderly and disabled residents living in low-income housing.
The Food Drive is on a mission to direct healthy, viable food from full landfills toward full fridges and fuller plates in our community.”
This Safet Harbor, FL team met five times to prepare, pack, and distribute nutritious meals to food insecure people in partnership with The Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center and Harbor Pointe Assisted Living Facility. The group usually serves about 100-200 meals at each outing.
CORMII Community Development Corporation
This Rockingham County, North Carolina team did what they do best—meeting for weekly curbside food distributions every Thursday!
CAFE Food Rescue
This food rescue in Summit County, Colorado operates free food coolers in local Starbucks and at a community clinic. In March, they wrote:
“Our community is struggling with high costs of living. People who work in the service industry can’t find affordable housing. So businesses can’t find employees. We have three Starbucks stores in the county and they can’t stay open. One closed completely for months, another for a few weeks. As they reopen, CAFE Food Rescue has established a good communication with the managers and has been there to pick up large amounts of food donations because they are not open every day. Because of this and adding on Keystone Conference Center, our pounds of food rescued in March jumped to 2,768. We keep working on grant applications. We keep having a great relationship with our County Department of Environmental Health as we try to get everything in order for repackaging prepared foods. We are working on finding a place where we can use the kitchen (commissary agreement) and that has some storage for us.”
GO Humanity Service Teams
These teams aren’t part of the Food Security Project, but are valued GO Teams!
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT)
This GO Team kept up with their monthly commitment to volunteer at the Van Buren Center shelter. Three volunteers worked in the kitchen preparing and serving food for a total of 6.75 hours. 112 of their volunteers have worked 1,289.25 hours in 86 events at the Van Buren Center to date!
Southeastern Virginia Atheists, Skeptics & Humanists (SEVASH)
This team maintains two free food pantries in partnership with other local organizations. In March, 6 known volunteers donated 312 pounds to them at a cost of $368! With funds received from GO Humanity, they were better able to reimburse their contributors and increase contribution levels.
Freethinkers Association of Central Texas (FACT)
These San Antonio area volunteers prepared and served food for the residents of the Haven for Hope shelter. Due to cancellations by other groups, FACT was the only group present at this shift which normally has 20 people, so Haven was extremely happy to have them! The team prepped 465 sandwiches that residents could use for lunch or dinner while away from campus or to take medicine. They also served 280 residents hot meals consisting of chicken sandwiches, fresh fries, and salad.
Central Florida Freethought Community
These freethinking Floridians met to clean their two-mile stretch of adopted highway!
Sponsor one of these hard-working teams by setting up a recurring donation of $100 per month.