September Service Team Roundup!

Teams in our Food Security Project (FSP) reported 17 events in September, serving 12,837 individual beneficiaries and giving out 5,214 meals! (These numbers are not final—teams in Florida were granted an extension for September because of Hurricane Ian.)

 Additional GO Humanity Service Teams (GO Teams) held 12 more service events.

Team of the Month

Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP)

HSGP started the month by holding their “Good for Nothing!” program, where they organize and teach the community how to get involved in service. They later launched their Little Free Pantry, incorporating a bilingual suggestion box. They also discussed other possible improvements, including a reverse osmosis water system, period products, and affirmation cards. The pantry is listed on Google Maps and on a Little Free Pantry registry.

They also stocked their Little Free Library throughout the month, experimenting to see what books people are interested in. They added school supplies in baggies, including pads of paper, pencils, and bilingual language dictionaries.

Later, HSGP continued their crocheting project where volunteers turn plastic bags into comfortable sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness. Eleven people attended this month’s crochet group.

They wrapped up the month by making a donation to Human Services Campus, including more cooling bandanas. (The Phoenix summer lasts through October.)

Photo of the Month

Freethinkers Association of Central Texas (FACT)

Photo of the Month shows FACT volunteers volunteering at the San Antonio Food Bank kitchen at Haven for Hope. Due to an extreme shortage on prepared sandwiches, their main focus was on making 7,020 of them—the highest number ever for a shift in Haven for Hope’s history! They also served a hot lunch to 325 residents.

Humanists of Tallahassee (HoT)

HoT met for their weekly collaboration with a local progressive church, wherein volunteers give snack and hygiene packs to unhoused neighbors. Packs consist of a granola bar, water, applesauce, pudding, peanut butter crackers, Vienna sausages, washcloth, soap, shampoo, deodorant, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, period products when applicable, and socks.

Kasese Humanist School

This new team in Uganda planted cabbages and tomatoes and sourced out farm implements like hoes, pesticides, and fertilizers. The crops are thriving and so far, and they’ve harvested four crates of tomatoes which went to their kitchens at two campuses. About 40 children and 38 adult staff members of the school benefited.

Southeastern Virginia Atheists, Skeptics & Humanists (SEVASH)

SEVASH maintains two Little Free Pantries in the towns of Newport News and Norfolk. In September, 13 known volunteers contributed 518 pounds of food at a cost of roughly $515. With funds received from GO Humanity, they were better able to reimburse contributors and increase contribution levels.

Orlando Oasis

In collaboration with Orlando DSA and Central Florida Mutual Aid, Orlando Oasis distributed heat relief items to unhoused people, including summer clothes, insulated water bottles, cooling towels, aloe vera, and umbrellas. Everything they brought was wildly popular—folks loved the insulated bottles and the variety of patterns available. Umbrellas and men’s clothes also went like hotcakes. For their next distribution, they planned to bring more clothes, umbrellas, and bags per client requests.

Humanists of Polk County

Humanists of Polk County co-hosted a sew-a-thon with Orlando Oasis to make the insulated water bottle holders mentioned above. They completed 30 and had over 60 additional pieces cut, pinned, and ready to be sewn over subsequent days.

Atheists United

This team meets monthly for a big food distribution in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown. Volunteers packed and distributed 31 pounds of groceries each for 140 families (519 household members).

Susquehanna Valley Ethical Society

This Pennsylvania team volunteered at the Union-Snyder County Food Hub, which collects and delivers food to local pantries. Volunteers sorted 536 pounds of donated food, stocked emergency pantry shelves, and boxed overflow for distribution to local food banks and kitchens.

Humanist Alliance Philippines International

This large team met mid-month at their headquarters in Malolos, Bulacan, to plant assorted vegetables like eggplant, okra, chilies, bitter gourd (ampalaya), papaya, ginger, tomatoes, basil, lettuce, oyster mushrooms, parsley, oyster mushroom, and bottle gourd (upo). Their garden aims to provide a continuous and sustainable source of vegetables for the members and those who are still affected by COVID-19. About 40 families are benefitting so far, and they have two more gardens in the works.

Later, they held a community feeding for approximately 100 children in Cavite, who received spaghetti, lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls), and cake. Children were encouraged to bring their own plates, bowls, cups and utensils to lessen waste. HAPI officers stayed afterward to inspect the site of a future community garden.

Atheists Helping the Homeless, DC

This AHH chapter holds hygiene kit packaging events on the first Saturday of every month in a private home. In September, they met twice to accommodate the schedule of an enthusiastic volunteer. Altogether, they made and packaged 100 kits consisting of socks, bandages, toilet paper, towelettes, period products, hand cream, floss, hand sanitizer, masks, and nonperishable food.

Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT)

In September, two COUNT volunteers prepared and served food in the kitchen of the Van Buren Center shelter and worked as housewarmers at the Ronald McDonald House. The team has contributed 1,306 hours of service to the Van Buren Center and 1,893 to the Ronald McDonald House to date.

Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC)

CFFC removed debris at local Kewannee Park— a six acre facility that includes a large pavilion, basketball court, playground, exercise stations, jogging path, boardwalk, restrooms and pier.

Kenya Humanist Alliance

 

KHA’s slate of activities in September included:

  • Cleaning a renovated water borehole in Magadi Village. This water source had been abandoned, but the team used our Food Security Project grant to restore it back to normalcy.
  • Distributing treatment chemicals to make fetched water safer for drinking.
  • Donating books, meals, sugar, flour, and soaps to orphans in the team’s care.
  • Donating an orthopedic walking stick and prescription drugs to a widow suffering from arthritis.
  • Covering about $950 in medical costs for a community member who broke a femur in an accident.

Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless (AHH)

Austin AHH meets monthly for a two-day food distribution project—meeting on day one to sort and pack food into bags, and on day two to give it away. It was raining massively outside during September’s packing event, slowing them down just a bit, but they still packed 175 bags. They had a huge number of people lined up at their primary distribution location, leaving them with only a handful of bags to take to the next site.  They had gallon jugs of water, coffee, Kool-Aid, pet food, and hygiene supplies on hand. A big group of volunteers turned out, making handling all their different stations very easy.

It was hot and muggy, so the team also gave out information regarding Capital Metro’s plan to provide free transit to cooling centers around the city. This wasn’t a “free pass,” so they also gave out 31-day bus passes, leading to lots of emotional feedback.

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:

CAFE Food Rescue

In September, CAFE rescued 2,825 pounds of food from landfills, bringing their year-to-date total to over 21,000 pounds!

After running some numbers, they found that half their collections are coming from partnerships with local caterers, resulting in an uptick in nutritional value compared to rescues from grocery stores alone.

They added a new board member with a health and finance background, whose husband is also a lawyer which has been helpful. They’re continuing to make grant applications and got a Paypal donation link set up on their website. They’re also pursuing potential new sources of funding by partnering and co-locating with a school food backpack program that has similar needs.

The Food Drive

September means back to school! In addition to food rescue, The Food Drive provides a weekly volunteer opportunity for students ages 18–22 in the Post Graduate program at the Melrose High School Special Education Department. Job coaches focus on building vocational and employment skills with the students through volunteering and work site opportunities, and building community and independent living skills as they transition into adulthood.

The Post Grads and their coaches actively participate in many aspects of The Food Drive’s hunger relief and food waste prevention activities. The students rescue and distribute food from grocery stores, collect and deliver items from The Food Drive’s eight local food donation bins, and use donated gift cards to shop for the items that are most needed by their Melrose pantries, filling significant gaps on their shelves. In addition to strengthening their skills and learning about the challenges of hunger and food waste, the students provide a meaningful service to their own community.

Thanks to the Post Grads and over 150 volunteers, The Food Drive passed the milestones of 400,000 pounds rescued and 1 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions prevented in under two years!

CORMII Community Development Corporation

This team in Rockingham County, North Carolina meets every Thursday to hold a curbside food distribution!