Volunteers Beyond Belief serve up some holiday cheer


Volunteers Beyond BeliefBy Andrew Geary

The holidays provide some time to reconnect with friends and family, reflect on the year behind, set plans for the year ahead, and for our Volunteers Beyond Belief teams to find creative ways to give back to their community.

One of our newest teams, the Siouxland Freethinkers, served up some help for two local nonprofits. Fifteen members helped a local nonprofit dedicated to providing children and families in need with the help that they deserve. The group raised money for Project Joy while gift-wrapping and sharing the humanist cheer with all who came their way. In addition, the group hosted a toy drive benefitting the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota, which serves more than 2,000 children each year, primarily ages 4 to 13. The majority of these children are victims of severe abuse or neglect. The Siouxland Freethinkers collected seven bags of new toys, clothes, and books.

MISSA book driveThe University of Michigan’s Secular Student Alliance held a book drive for the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Store, which gives money to the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Volunteers from the group dropped off and sorted through the books, donating nearly 100 books to the thrift store.

The Humanists of Houston dedicated their holiday cheer to the Houston Area Women’s Center Holiday Store. For two weeks every holiday, the Center transforms their offices into a store where the women and families they serve can shop for holiday gifts. Read more about it our blog, where it was a featured story.

Two of our groups pitched in to help the stretch of highway they have adopted stay clean and free of any holiday clutter—the Fayette Freethought Society and Fellowship of Freethought in Dallas. In addition, the Fellowship of Freethought Dallas held a gift drive for Jonathan’s Place, a local organization that provides safe, loving homes and specialized services for children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected.

Minnesota Atheists gift wrappingThe Minnesota Atheists’ “War on Christmas” brought together 20 volunteers from the group. Each group member brought gifts as requested by the children’s hospital. After enjoying a festive feast, they wrapped the gifts, put a nice bow on each one, and dropped off the gifts at the hospital. In total, the group donated $600 worth of gifts.

The Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry volunteered at the Lowcountry Food Bank, an organization that helps ensure that affordable food gets to those who need it. The group helped sort and box hundreds of pounds of donations from retailers. Additionally, through the months of November and December they raised $1,092 for Begin with Books. This will help provide books for more than 30 kids.

Some of our other groups kept busy with their regularly scheduled events, including the Humanists of Rhode Island’s monthly efforts with Habitat for Humanity and the Humanist Community of Central Ohio’s blood drive, Bleed & Feed.

All of our VBB teams’ efforts during the holidays are just a snapshot of the great work they do all year long. To learn more about this program and to check out the application to join, click here.