Beyond Belief Network teams organized nearly 40 events and contributed over 3,000 hours of volunteer service in October! We picked Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families (featured image, above) as our October Team of the Month and chose a photo from the South Texas Atheists for Reason (STAR) for September Picture of the Month. Read the announcement here.
Here's what other BBN teams did in October:
At the Ozarks Food Harvest, one of the largest food banks in the area, volunteers assembled food packs for children to take home on the weekends. Many families rely on school feeding programs to get their children adequate nutrition, but school lunches are only available when school is in session!
Eight Minnesota Atheist volunteers packed "mega" meat packs (boxes containing an assortment of 8 chicken, beef and turkey items) at The Food Group. The volunteers helped fill three pallets with 6,510 pounds of meat packs or enough for 5,425 meals! These healthy packs will be distributed throughout the community at affordable prices. Nine Minnesota Atheist volunteers purchased groceries and prepared a chicken and hashbrown dish at The Family Place for 20 individuals (including 15 children) experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities area.
South Texas Atheists for Reason
In addition to capturing the October Picture of the Month, South Texas Atheists for Reason organized 11 events in October! STAR continued with its highly successful weekly discussion for Basic Trainees at Lackland Air Force Base. Humanist Chaplains hosted two discussions back to back on all five weekends in October, with more than 400 in attendance at each discussion. Volunteers assisted at the San Antonio Food Bank by preparing garden plots and helped the San Antonio River Authority's Watershed Wise Warriors (see the winning photo) clean up trash buildup in the river area. STAR also continued with its monthly Atheists Helping the Homeless Giveaway of hygiene supplies and weather-appropriate clothing and raised money for Fiesta Youth, a program that serves LGBTQ youth in the area. To top it all off, STAR volunteers helped out with another cleanup at a local school and a Habitat for Humanity build.
Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation
This High Holiday season was the seventh year Kol Hadash has partnered with A Safe Place, an organization that provides shelter, court advocacy, referrals and other supportive services for victims of domestic violence. A wish list from the shelter was provided along with a paper grocery bag at our Rosh Hashana services on October 2-3, to be returned with the requested items at Yom Kippur on October 11-12. Members filled up the bags on their own time, then brought them to the services. Over two SUVs full of goods were provided!
Humanists Doing Good
Humanists Doing Good helped the Roice Hurst Humane Society, a no-kill shelter in Colorado, sort through donated items to organize their shed and to help them identify items that they didn't need and could give to other organizations in the area.
Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry
Volunteers packed "backpack buddy bags" of non-perishable food for kids in food-insecure homes to take home over the weekend (apparently all of the food banks were on the same page). Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry volunteers and another group teamed up to complete over 1000 bags to be distributed to schools throughout the three Lowcountry counties.
Humanist Community of the Space Coast
Humanist Community of the Space Coast announced the Move-Hers Project in October, developed in conjunction with Brevard Women's Center and the Space Coast Freethought Association. The Move-Hers Project assists clients needing to relocate by providing energetic, friendly, cooperative manual laborers. Volunteers are available to help lift, tote, pack, and cart household goods, furniture, and personal possessions in support of Women's Center clients who are moving on with their lives. Volunteers have already supported two safe, successful moves. Humanist Community of the Space Coast also hosted its 2nd Annual Halloween Blood Drive at the Satellite Beach Recreation Center. Despite competing blood drives going on in the area and people ineligible to donate because of previously donating after Hurricane Matthew, the event drew 28 donors.
Austin Humanists at Work
ATXHAW's monthly giveaways keep the group busy. For the October giveaway, volunteers
October Donation Drive solicited donations by asking anyone and everyone who would listen, by posting business cards on community & business bulletin boards, and by posting on social media & neighborhood listservs. ATXHAW volunteers were able to collect 2,176 items, all of which were distributed at ATXHAW's October giveaway by 18 volunteers along with crocheted 8 washcloths & 3 hats made by ATXHAW's "Gettin' Knotty" crafts group.
Humanists of Houston
Humanists of Houston hosted their regular monthly give away of donated items in October and also helped the Houston Food bank pack over 18,000 meals for food insecure students to take home over the weekends.
South Jersey Humanists
Five South Jersey Humanists returned to the warehouse of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (Southern Branch) in October to sort canned donations, check dates for spoilage and products for damage, and fill boxes by food category. By the end of the session, volunteers had filled and warehoused dozens of boxes. The South Jersey Humanists also donated 26 lbs of produce from the group's farm.
Fellowship of Freethought – Dallas
Ten volunteers baked cookies to take to the McKinney Police and Fire Stations to thank them for their service to the community. There was good turnout for a Sunday morning, and kids really enjoyed the event. Fellowship of Freethought – Dallas collected professional attire for Dress for Success in October. Dress for Success is part of a global movement for change, empowering women to obtain safer and better futures by providing women with professional attire to secure employment that enables them to break the cycle of poverty. Volunteers also served a meal to 15-20 residents at the AIDS Services of Dallas Supper Club at the end of October.
Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) and Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT)
These two Columbus Coalition of Reason groups continued their partnership in support of the Community Shelter Board. Eight volunteers worked as servers a total of 22.5 hours. To date, 62 Columbus CoR volunteers have worked 483.5 hours in 22 events with the Community Shelter Board.
The holiday season began early for BE. Orlando when superhero-costumed volunteers prepared a creative “spooky super supper” buffet for the residents at SafeHouse of Seminole, a local domestic violence shelter. Spider dogs, mummy dogs, mashed potato graveyard, string cheese witches’ brooms, and spooky fruits & veggies complimented a pasta dinner with field greens salad. The most important part (dessert) included witch hat cookies, dirt & worm cups, and Halloween cupcakes. As they do every year, BE. Orlando also hosted a vendor tent at Central Florida Veg Fest to do Humanist outreach in the community and the group organizes a blood drive for the entire festival. This year, the blood drive collected 26 units (enough to impact 78 lives) and the group also raised more than $50 for its STEM Holiday Toy Drive.