October Beyond Belief Network Roundup!

We just finished rounding up reports of what teams in our volunteer network did for their communities in October!

October was the first month for the 10 new teams we added to the Food Security Project. They — along with the original 5 teams — served 10,528 beneficiaries through 34 events. That’s triple last month’s event count!

Here’s how that broke down:

Austin Humanists At Work (ATXHAW)

This Texas team met up for their big monthly giveaway to people experiencing homelessness at Mosaic Church in North Austin. (ATXHAW partners with Mosaic to use their space and time since their events compliment one another.) Each month, volunteers give 75-100 people personal care, food, and warmth items, plus connect them with any other resources they may need. This month students from University of Texas Pharmacy College also joined them to distribute month-long bus passes.

Recognizing that their client’s needs don’t end when they find shelter, ATXHAW also just launched a new pantry program that will supply a week’s worth of food at a time to newly-housed people! So far they are serving 9 clients at Austin’s Waterloo Terrace Apartments.

Atheists United

This Los Angeles team held their own monthly giveaway to food insecure people in Historic Filipinotown! 3,000 lbs of food (assembled into kits by volunteers) were distributed to over 85 households containing approximately 272 family members.

Volunteers also kept up with a monthly commitment to read print ads for people with visual impairments with Audio Information Network of Colorado (AIN). Each week, they find, read, edit, verify, and upload mp3s for AIN’s podcasts — about 2.5 hours of work per session.

Southeastern Virginia Atheists, Skeptics, & Humanists (SEVASH)

SEVASH scored our Picture of the Month for this shot showing volunteers at one of their two free food pantries, which they built and maintain alongside other local organizations.

15 known volunteers contributed approximately 287 pounds of food to the pantries this month at a cost of $312. With funds received from FBB, they were better able to reimburse their contributors and recruit new volunteers!

Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI)

HAPI scored Team of the Month for October for their work kicking off two new programs for kids!

First, they had a dry-run for their Alabang Reading Room, which provides children a safe and comfortable place to learn and eat once a week.

The dry run was held to figure out the logistics of managing smaller groups of children throughout the day and manage crowd control. 10 students were given a short talk on proper behavior when playing or working with others, then were given a snack pack and coloring sheets to reinforce the lesson. HAPI hopes all this will help the children develop a more structured schedule and instill discipline as far as following the the rules of the Reading Room.

Part of the dry-run also involved the scheduling and rotation of youth volunteers picking up and dropping off the kids at their homes to ensure safety at all times. The team hopes to have the program officially running by the end of the year.

HAPI also launched their Kids NutriCamp Cavite, part of their Nutrition Camp Feeding Program. The program taught 73 kids living next to a river about humanism and HAPI, and gave them food packs and drinks to make them feel appreciated.

Humanists of Tallahassee (HoT)

HoT met five times for their snack/hygiene pack distribution project!

This project is a collaboration with a local progressive church, during which they distribute essentials to unhoused neighbors. Their care packages consist of a granola bar, water, applesauce, pudding, peanut butter crackers, Vienna sausages, washcloths, soap, shampoo, deodorant, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, period products (where applicable), and socks.

Northwestern Chicagoland Humanist Crew (NCHC)

NCHC collected items for Sparrow’s Nest, a chain of thrift stores and donation centers that support a transitional housing program for women and children. Volunteers collected 291 items valued at $1,424!

Later in October they held a clothing drive for Building Peaceful Bridges, which helps integrate refugees into American society and educate communities on the challenges facing refugee populations.

Atheist Community of Polk County (ACPC)

This veteran team…

  • Met four times for their Weekends Without Hunger program, providing weekend food supplies to food-insecure elementary school students!
  • Met three times for Street Warriors, a program feeding people experiencing homelessness!
  • Met twice to clean up their adopted 2.2 stretch of adopted highway!

Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP)

This team has steadily been growing their volunteer programs since they joined the FSP earlier this year.

This month, volunteers met again to crochet plarn sleeping mats for unsheltered people. One volunteer finished a 6-foot mat at the last meetup, made of 500-700 plastic bags. Many more are in various stages of development. This month, they donated three mats altogether to charity Human Services Campus, along with 25 full-fare bus passes, 9 toothpaste tubes, 6 deodorants, 5 boxes of tampons, 2 dental kits, and 1 blanket!

HSGP also got together three times with Project Roots, a non-profit that educates the community about growing food and feeds food insecure people from their garden. Volunteers — recently equipped with food handler’s licenses —harvested ingredients and prepared soup for about 200 people. They also donated kitchen cleaning supplies and had two additional volunteers commit to obtain food handlers cards for a future event.

Finally, this team filled 37 of 40 appointments for a blood drive requested by the Red Cross. They collected 33 units, beating their loftier-than-usual goal of 29! Things went so well, the Red Cross asked them to hold another drive in November. (Phoenix area supporters, please join them!)

Kenya Humanist Alliance (KHA)

This team — one of the two new international teams added in October — has been supplying fresh food to orphans and elderly widows experiencing chronic hunger. Last month this consisted of several days worth of food, including cabbages, maize flour, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, sugar, milk, tea, as well as necessities like soap, toothpaste, and sanitary towels.

Many of the widows are physically weak or bedridden while also caring for their orphaned grand and great grandchildren. KHA has been calling this project a rescue.

The team also met to discuss modernizing their educational facility to eradicate health risks to orphans. It was noted that their students are performing well and are in a better position to attend good colleges and high schools. KHA says the event has attracted the attention of politicians and faith-based organizations who were taken aback by the high level of care given.

KHA members expressed appreciation for FBB donors for standing firmly with them to enrich lives of vulnerable people in Kenya.

Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless (AHH)

This Texas team held their big monthly giveaway to people experiencing homelessness.

The day before the giveaway, 13 voluneers sorted through stacks of boxes containing toiletries and food, organized it all on an assembly line, and packed it into 220 individual care bags. Austin AHH said the volunteers this month were amazingly efficient, knocking the whole thing out in just over an hour!

The giveaway itself was colored by the effects of Austin’s recent crackdown on unsheltered people, with members reporting that the community they usually serve has become increasingly decentralized. In October, they served 75 people at their main locale under the I-35 bridge. Their other three usual locations had been swept by police leaving only a handful of folks behind. Unfortunately, many of those sweeps did not result in housing assignments.

A clever volunteer was able to find an additional 13 people at a nearby park to serve. Two of those clients detailed the heartbreaking reality that their possessions were taken in sweeps while they were temporarily away from their tents, leaving whatever they had on them at the time as their only remaining possessions.

Food Rescue Alliance teams

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

CAFE Food Rescue

This Summit, Colorado team has been holding regular collections at a local Starbucks. Most of this food goes to a free clinic for low-income people, made available in coolers in their waiting area for anyone who needs it. Some food also goes to a church for their community dinner, and some to a women’s shelter. CAFE Food Rescue estimates about 800 pounds of food waste were donated and distributed in October. They’re setting up meetings with more social service organizations and working with colleagues in the Summit Food Response Team to make sure that holding more collections matches well with the needs of their community.

CORMII Community Development Center

This Rockingham County, North Carolina team holds a weekly curbside food distribution, serving 10 to 20 homes over the course of an hour. This month they provided 668 meals to 14 homes containing 27 adults and 20 kids. The $100 grant they received from FBB paid for 59 of these meals.

The Food Drive

This Melrose, Massachusetts team rescues food seven days per week, collecting from 11 different grocery store in their area that donate to them!

360 Eat

This Tampa, Florida team organized three different pop-up community meal services last month, each serving 100 people with a gourmet meal made entirely of rescued food!

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