We just finished our annual report on Secular Week of Action (SWoA), which took place April 29th to May 8th this year!
We surveyed as many teams as possible to ascertain their collective impact. While not everyone responded (and some events were not formally registered on the SWoA site), here’s what we found out about how participants made an impact:
Overall, 22 US states were represented plus two other countries.
54 team events were reported from 18 U.S. states plus Kenya. 22 additional individuals pledged solo action from 14 US states plus New Zealand.
34 of group events and 4 individual pledges connected to this year’s theme: taking action for people experiencing homelessness.
29 volunteer groups reported participating:
- Atheist Community of Polk County
- Atheists Helping the Homeless DC
- Atheists Helping the Homeless Phoenix
- Atheists United
- Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless
- Austin Humanists at Work
- Black Nonbelievers (Atlanta)
- Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture
- Center for Inquiry Michigan
- Central Florida Freethought Community
- Central New York Humanist Association
- Central Ohio United Non-Theists
- CORMII Community Development Corporation
- Houston Oasis
- Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix
- Humanists of Tallahassee
- Kenya Humanist Alliance
- Little Heathens of RVA
- Minnesota Atheists
- New Jersey Humanist Network
- North Orlando Oasis
- Northern Chicagoland Humanist Crew
- Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families
- Secular Democrats of Virginia
- Secular Houston
- Sunday Assembly Atlanta
- Susquehanna Valley Ethical Society
- The Heinlein Society
GO Teams Impact
22 of the above groups are part of our GO Teams network. Responding teams in the network reported that 223 of their volunteers contributed 783.43 hours of service at an estimated value of $23,464, serving 1,128 direct beneficiaries.
This broke down into:
- 271 homes/families served
- 1,117 meals or food kits distributed (386 pounds of food, 115 pounds harvested from teams’ own farms)
- $1,427 raised for other charities
GO Team reports
Here are the details on what teams in the GO Humanity service network reported:
This team met for their Weekends Without Hunger program, packing bags of food relief for food insecure students at a local elementary school.
Week of Action overlapped with this team’s monthly mass giveaway to people without shelter. They packed 165 care packages of food, clothing, and other aid on an assembly line, then distributed them the next day in various locales in Austin, Texas.
Even though one of their locales had been swept by police the prior month, they still found 20 people there to give 30-day bus passes—an experience the team found very emotional.
Austin Texas Humanists At Work (ATXHAW)
ATXHAW met three times during week of action to prepare and distribute hot meals for unsheltered people at Austin’s Charlie Center. The team reported many emotional encounters with the people they served, including folks expressing that they only eat during ATXHAW’s twice-weekly giveaways.
CFFC volunteered at UP Orlando’s grocery center and warehouse, supporting a grocery program that helps people buy groceries for up to 70% below regular prices. Activities included stocking, cleaning, and sorting donations.
They also met on a hot day to pick up trash from their adopted stretch of highway near downtown Oviedo, FL.
This Columbus, OH area team volunteered at Ronald McDonald House, helping to create a home-like environment for families staying at the facility while their children are treated at nearby hospitals. Volunteers helped with reception, hospitality, cleaning, and stocking.
This Syracuse-based team volunteered with We Rise Above the Streets to make bagged lunches and distribute them at a middle school. Recipients also received toiletries, clothes, toys, and books. Volunteers were encouraged to stop and talk with the people being served while smiling, making eye contact, and asking how they can help.
The team reported it was an inspiring experience and that their volunteers left brainstorming ideas about new items to donate.
17 volunteers worked at Houston Food Bank’s warehouse inspecting, sorting, and repackaging donated food. They also packed bags of food for Backback Buddy, which gives food every Friday to participating kids experiencing food insecurity.
This team held a variety of events, including:
- Packing emergency food boxes at St. Mary’s Food Bank. Four volunteers sorted produce while chatting to food bank staff about humanism.
- Joining Atheists Helping the Homeless Phoenix to distribute hygiene items.
- Picking up trash along a local trail while geocaching and learning about local birds.
- Holding a digital fundraiser to buy 100 hygiene kits for Atheists Helping the Homeless.
- Holding another fundraiser to buy 3,000 tampons for Go With the Flow AZ. (They raised $405 toward their $500 goal.)
- An event educating and recruiting community members for future volunteerism.
Humanists of Tallahasee carried out three multi-day projects:
- Packing and distributing care packages for unhoused people in collaboration with a local church. Packages included granola bars, water, applesauce, pudding, peanut butter crackers, Vienna sausages, washcloths, soap, shampoo, deodorant, razors, toothbrush, toothpaste, period products, and socks. Volunteers met on one day to pack, and the next to give goods out.
- Constructing a Little Help Shelf—a small free pantry stocked with canned food, clothes, and toiletries. The team received a grant from GO Humanity for this project, and met three times during SWoA for planning and construction. The shelf was later installed near a local elementary school.
- Partnering with a local business and church to collect period products for students at county schools.
This east Africa team tended to a maize farm which feeds impoverished people; donated shoes and clothes to unsheltered people in Kisumu City; and planted trees along local waterways to help with erosion and greenhouse gas absorption.
This Florida team met twice for their Mutual Aid Garden Club, which teaches the community how to grow food and feeds people from community gardens. Volunteers collected and broke down wood pallets for a composting project; prepared garden beds to plant in a low-income mobile home neighborhood; transplanted crops; and harvested peas.
They also met to remove invasive plants at Oakland Nature Preserve.
This team ran a supply drive for Lake County Haven, a local shelter for women and children. Items collected included cleaning supplies, toiletries, and gift cards.
This team filed their first report with us since June 2021 for SWoA.
They performed two activities: a donation drive for Indigenous peoples’ charity One Nation Walking Together, for which the team collected 9 boxes of household goods and food, consisting of hygiene items, food, towels, shoes, hats, gloves, children’s clothing, bedding, tools, and more.
They also created an Amazon wishlist which yielded 5 lots of food, 6 lots of socks and underwear, and 5 lots of feminine hygiene products which were directly shipped to the charity.
Later, they met to clean up trash at their adopted section of a Colorado Springs creek.