May everyone be inspired by BBN Team service eventsBy 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.
Nineteen members of Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families in Colorado Springs, CO participated in an annual trash clean up day in their neighborhood to celebrate Earth Day. Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families have reached Level 1.
On April 25th, eighteen people, including seven kids, from Central New York Humanist Association met at Lewis Park in Syracuse, NY to clean up trash and leaves. It was a beautiful day, and they enjoyed two sunny hours raking and cleaning up while the kids picked up litter and played on the playground. They collected 23 bags of litter and leaves. The event was part of both the City of Syracuse's Clean up 'Cuse Day and a county-wide Earth Day Litter Cleanup. For the team, it was also an early celebration of Week of Action.Over the past few months, the team has also collected 28 new toys and raised enough money to make 45 gift bags to support children and their families at Golisano Children's Hospital.
Forsyth Area Critical Thinkers in Winston Salem, NC hosted a Cards Against Humanity Tournament to raise funds for Judy's Kids. Judy's Kids is a nonprofit that helps support families with children who have terminal illnesses.
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) are now a Level 2 team! In April, nine COUNT volunteers joined the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) at the Ohio School For The Deaf in Columbus, Ohio for Earth Day Tree Planting. They had lots of fun and planted 2,800 trees in a nearby area.
Corpus Christi Atheists in Corpus Christi, TX have had a busy April! First, they gathered over $400 worth of donations to create 20 Chemo Bags to help alleviate the discomfort experienced by local cancer patients. Then, Corpus Christi Atheists (CCA) launched a children's book drive to support the project of a local Girl Scout who is creating a library on the King Ranch primarily for the children of the laborers. An important project since Corpus Christi, TX ranks second to last in literacy among US cities. CCA donated over 500 books to the new library. Finally, Corpus Christi Atheists fielded a bowling team to raise money for abortion access for low-income women in Texas. Four women bowled supported by over $1,300 in donations.
Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) is now a Level 1 team. In partnership with Green Alert Negros, HAPI-Bacolod chapter members and officers shaved their heads to as a protest against deforestation. Themed "better our hair than our forest", the head-shaving event was organized by the Green Alert Negros to rally against an intrusion of Energy Development Corporation (EDC), a private corporation in one of Negros Occidental's protected areas, the Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park. HAPI also continues to work on their bimonthly feeding event/nutritional campaign. For their fifth event in April, they embarked on another set of activities which included plant cultivation and a lecture on proper solid waste disposal. Originally, the children, under a supervised setting, were set to start planting a few seeds in a vacant tract of land. However, the lack of rainwater resulted in infertility of the topsoil. Instead, they were taught of the crucial factors that need to be considered during gardening activities, and asked to engage in disposing solid waste as preparation for the next activity later that month.
Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation Community Service Committee in Lincolnshire, IL made 11 blankets to donate to Chai Lifeline.
Members of Tri-State Freethinkers in Union, KY also had a busy service event schedule. They weeded the garden of the Hosea House, which provides fresh food for those in need in Northern Kentucky. Tri-State Freethinkers also packed 400 lunches for local area children and helped the Freestore Foodbank with various other small projects. The team was especially busy over one weekend in mid-April. On Saturday, April 11, volunteers helped build the foundation of a project with Habitat for Humanity. On Sunday, April 12, Tri-State Freethinkers removed litter from a stretch of the highway in front of the Creation Museum. They filled over 5 garbage bags with trash. Tri-State Freethinkers currently stands as a Level 2 team and won April Picture of the Month.
Fellowship of Freethought Dallas collected non-perishable food items for Jewish Family Services–who serve the local community regardless of religion. Fellowship of Freethought Dallas was BBN’s April Team of the Month.
South Jersey Humanists, based in Galloway, NJ, had a public viewing of the movie "Letting Go of God." In lieu of admission, people brought clothing donations for Kathleen's Closet, a thrift shop affiliated with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. They gathered 7 boxes of clothes that night. The South Jersey Humanists also had a booth at the Smithville Art Walk in Smithville, NJ. They even had an unexpected visitor: The Flying Spaghetti Monster!. People were able to pose with his Noodly Master for a donation to Atlantic County Canines, a local dog rescue organization. For the benefit of younger ones in awe of the FSM, they could take a photo with him, and work on a craft project. Lollipops were available as well. The group made $50 for Atlantic County Canines and had lots of discussions with fellow Humanists (and hopefully new members). FSM was created by member Paula Duntley, inspired by a photo posted by a Secular Student Alliance group who made their own FSM.
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless (ATXAHH) have had another successful donation drive and giveaway. All their hard work has allowed them to reach Level 3, the first BBN team to do so!
Between March 23 and April 19, 2015, ATXAHH collected nearly 2,400 items to distribute at their April giveaway. This month, they also used the $250 BBN grant they earned when they reached Level 2 to buy some of their "critical need" items in addition to several clear, 66 qt plastic bins for long term storage. The ATXAHH Gettin' Knotty Knitting Guild also donated 24 knitted/crocheted items to the April giveaway. ATXAHH held its monthly giveaway in Downtown Austin on Sunday, April 19th. A record number of 45 volunteers spent 40 minutes distributing basic living supplies, clothing and other items to 85 people in line. Many of the volunteers were from a Perspectives in Atheism class taught at St. Edward's University, a private, Catholic university. The newly created ATXAHH Beyond the Basics Creative Cohort also gathered and contributed its first items for the April giveaway. Members created more than 75 Because You Matter bags. Bags included extra goodies such as edibles, notepads and pens, decks of cards and other items. Some of the bags were also decorated and each one was tagged with a card that said "Because You Matter." There were also some boxes of Girl Scout cookies that were donated by a local troop. The BtB cohort will continue to do special projects a few times each year.
Nine members of Minnesota Atheists purchased ingredients for a healthy meal and served 20 people at The Family Place, a homeless shelter in St. Paul, MN. Minnesota Atheists also packed 225 pounds of fruit and produce at The Food Group which will help feed 1,020 people in the Twin Cities metro area. They accomplished this in only two hours! Minnesota Atheists stand as a Level 2 team.
In October of last year, the Springfield City Council passed a bill that added sexual orientation and gender identification (SOGI for short) to Springfield's non-discrimination clause. It was in place for three weeks before a petition was received that put the law on hold and sent the matter to the voters. The No Repeal/One Springfield campaign was created to fight to keep the law in the city's charter.
The Springfield Skeptics sent multiple volunteers to the No Repeal/One Springfield campaign. Their members were involved in multiple activities: phone banking, canvassing, planning and hosting house parties, feeding volunteers, and large scale event planning. Two members planned a Community Concert which featured multiple members singing and playing their instruments, another member created a handmade quilt for auction at the concert, and numerous members attended. Additionally, one of their members is a professional deaf interpreter. She interpreted the concert and made a campaign commercial supporting No Repeal for the deaf population of the city. Ultimately, in all of the different endeavors of approximately 25 members, they gave over 500 hours in service to the campaign, the LGBTQ+ community, and their city. Although the campaign lost by only 854 votes, Springfield Skeptics is incredibly proud and humbled to have participated.
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.