As we're all well aware, March was an unusual month for volunteerism across the globe. Last month marked the transition from business as usual to socially-distant action for many Beyond Belief Network (BBN) teams. This installment of our monthly BBN roundups includes activities reported by teams before lockdowns were implemented in their states and after. Moving forward, socially-distant volunteerism will of course be the norm.
With that in mind, let's see what teams did to "spring" into action in March!
The following events were held pre-lockdown. While we are rethinking how to hold service events for the time being, we still want to celebrate the great work that was done before social distancing became necessary. And we look forward to the day these kinds of events can be scheduled again!
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) in Columbus volunteered at the last Winter Sports event with the Adaptive Sports Connection held this year, helping with instruction on skibikes and tethering behind a student.
Days later, six volunteers worked as servers for a total of 15 hours at the Van Buren Center shelter, then joined the Omnipresent Atheists meetup for dinner, drinks, and conversation.
The Atheist Community of Polk County, Florida, spent two weekends cleaning up their adopted stretch of highway. One weekend, six volunteers picked up 13 bags of litter, and the next, six people collected 11 bags and two old tires! The team also launched a partnership with another local non-profit, Street Warriors, a faith-based group of friends who prepare and deliver food to people who are displaced or experiencing homelessness in Lakeland, Florida. This meets the team’s written Mission & Vision statement in both supporting members of their community in need and in working side-by-side with believers where they have common ground. They’re changing the perception of atheists in their county and helping people in need!
Brevard Area Atheists in Melbourne, Florida also held their regular road cleanup event, with five people joining in.
Post-COVID-19 Social Distancing Measures
COUNT adjusted their regular Bleed-N-Feed event to continue to provide much needed blood and plasma donations while staying safe and practicing social distancing. The team is forgoing having dinner together during the quarantine but wants to help make up for a number of cancelled blood drives. The Red Cross helps them stay safe by checking temperatures and requiring the use of hand sanitizer at the door. COUNT believes blood donation is an essential service and will continue to hold some volunteer events where safety can be reasonably assured, no government directives are being violated, and the recipient organization is still welcoming them onsite.
One of BBN's international teams, the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) has held several events delivering food, meals, and sanitation equipment to local hospitals and deployed troops. HAPI collects funds for supplies, works with a local single mother who sews face masks, and coordinates with local military units to send out masks and supplies. Frontliners are being hit hard with food scarcity and are hindered by a lack of personal protection equipment.
Northwestern Chicagoland Humanist Crew (NCHC) in Mundelein, Illinois held a collection drive for Cycle Forward, a charity that collects and distributes menstrual products for low-income and homeless women and girls. Due to global events the drive was cut somewhat short, but they were able to collect 12 boxes. The team hopes to hold another collection drive later in the year.
Thank you teams for your hard work and inspiration!
Beyond Belief Network is a collective of over 125 humanist, atheist, and other non-believing organizations putting compassionate humanism into action through community volunteering and charitable fundraising. Its just one of many examples of the work our humanist community does to make a positive impact on the world. The network wouldn't be possible without you. You can support our work in organizing this network by making a contribution to our General Fund today.