|Join Our Mailing List!|
By Elizabeth Dorssom
Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups volunteering in their communities and raising money for FBB’s featured charities and programs. Any group with a public secular humanist or atheist identity is welcome to join, regardless of experience or group size. Our teams have been hard at work in November putting their compassionate humanism to work. During November, BBN observed Hunger Awareness Month, and in December we are encouraging everyone to keep toy safety in mind when making holiday purchases for children.
November Team of the Month Fellowship of Freethought Dallas teamed up with David Smalley of Dogma Debate to host a Cocktails for a Cause event for the Seagoville Senior Center. The Senior Center provides many seniors with their only healthy meal each day and is in desperate need of funds. FoF Dallas plans to donate a $150 award from FBB to the center in addition to the $250 raised at the event. They also hosted a mini Thanksgiving meal for the teens at Youth First Texas, complete with turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. Some of the teens do not have families to go to or do not feel comfortable attending family gatherings, which makes the family-style meals even more important to them.
The Humanist Community of Ventura County volunteered with Heal the Bay as part of their monthly Beach Cleanup in Pacific Palisades, CA. Heal the Bay is a local nonprofit dedicated to making southern California's coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and clean. For two hours HCVC walked the beach with buckets and gloves picking up any and all trash they could find. HCVC was also educated about what drains from their local communities into the oceans and how dangerous that can be to the environment. Being no strangers to hard work, they also joined the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), the Santa Monica Trails Council, and other volunteers for the 23nd Annual COSCA Trailwork Day. HCVC worked on new trails in the Conejo Canyons Open Space that are accessible because of a new bridge.
Finally, they volunteered at Sunday Assembly of Los Angeles and modeled their brand-new BBN gear featuring our brand-new logo! Sunday Assembly of Los Angeles is a new godless community that meets monthly to hear great talks, connect for service projects, sing songs, and generally celebrate life. Assemblies are free to attend, and everyone is welcome. HCVC brought nine volunteers to help with set-up, check-in, greeting, ushering, donation collection, service project signups, food distribution, and cleanup. Sunday Assembly of Los Angeles had more than 400 people in attendance, and the event was a huge success!
FreeOK took Hunger Awareness month to heart by collecting non-perishable food items for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma during a recent blood drive. Twenty-eight people donated blood, and 100 pounds of food were collected. The event also served as the first official drop location for Humanist Gifting Project contributions. This innovative project allowed needy children nominated from the community to make wish lists, which FreeOK staff turned into Amazon wish lists. Members were able to bring in toys, “adopt a child,” and purchase toys directly from Amazon. Kai Tancredi of FreeOK reported that as of Monday, 100% of the children in the program had been adopted by generous donors! In addition, FreeOK returned to their original work site for their Oklahoma Tornado Disaster Response project at Steelman Estates to assist with the tent city that has sprouted up since their last venture there in May. They organized overflow donations that could not be put in the limited warehouse space, sorted a 35-foot moving truck full of donated clothing, and put together care packages of clothing items to be distributed to local women's and children's shelters and the Muscular Dystrophy Association of OKC.
Central Ohio United Non-Theists held their 2nd Annual Flying Spaghetti Monster Benefit Dinner. The dinner topped last year, with 76 pounds of food collected at the event and more than $2,000 raised for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Volunteers from several local atheist and freethought groups entertained and fed more than 120 guests. Their fun-filled event featured a raffle and silent auction of items donated by 21 area businesses, artists, and individuals. COUNT handled project management and post-event activity, made jewelry for the silent auction and raffle, and were represented by nine volunteers at the event. COUNT only recently reached 100 members, making it a prime example of what newly formed groups are capable of!
Ethics in Action recently helped Voices for Children in setting up a giving tree for the upcoming holidays in their local Whole Foods market. Voices for Children advocates for abused and neglected children and youth in St. Louis by representing their best interests in court and in the community. Volunteers spent most of their time preparing the ornaments, which double as gift wish tags. Shoppers collect tags and later return to Whole Foods with gifts for the children. The initiative has helped make the holidays brighter for nearly 600 kids in foster care over the past decade.
Secular Hub sorted medical supplies for Project C.U.R.E. in their first month of BBN membership. Project C.U.R.E. collects medical supplies and equipment from hospitals and other medical facilities and ships them to clinics and hospitals in poor countries, where the supplies are desperately needed.
Northern Arizona University's Secular Student Alliance recently volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. NAU SSA members assisted with cleaning and painting the home of a local resident.
North Florida Atheists volunteered at Dignity U Wear to fold clothes that help out less fortunate families and kids. Dignity U Wear gives new clothing to schools and nonprofit agencies to serve those in need. Every North Florida Atheists member in attendance also brought canned goods to support their local Second Harvest Food Bank.
If you are a member of a secular humanist or atheist group and would like to participate in community service projects under the national umbrella of Foundation Beyond Belief, join Beyond Belief Network. We welcome all atheist groups interested in service, from groups with extensive volunteer experience to newly formed groups new to secular service. By aggregating our efforts, we show the world that all we really need is charity and goodness to make the world a better place.