BBN teams complete both new and annual service events
by Elizabeth Minutello, Beyond Belief Network intern
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. In March, BBN’s community service theme is Community Gardens.
The Humanist Community of Central Ohio continued a service event they started seven years ago. HCCO set aside a portion of their budget to “adopt” a Bonobo at the Columbus Zoon in their team’s name. This is a small way HCCO feels they can encourage the preservation of endangered species for future generations.
Not to be beat, Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry also continued their service event. Each year, SHL chooses four local charities as their Charities of the Quarter. They collect donations from members and, at the end of the quarter, send the total as one check to the chosen charity as a gift from the entire team. During January-February 2014, the COQ was the SC Woman’s Choice Fund. SHL raised $850 for them. In addition to this, SHL volunteered at a local no-kill animal shelter for dogs and cats. Their volunteers performed the daily feeding and cleaning chores so regular staff could complete other tasks.
It was a lucky day for Upstate Atheists when they cleaned their adopted section of Spartanburg Highway. Not only was the weather favorable, their eight volunteers collected fifteen bags of trash. One team member even found a twenty-dollar bill on the side of the road!
Four volunteers from Central Ohio United Non-Theists worked as Housewarmers in February 2014 at the Columbus, Ohio Ronald McDonald House (RMH). RMH provides housing and meals to families with children being treated at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and other area hospitals. Housewarmers work with our guests to provide a home-like environment. This includes greeting guests, assisting with family needs, answering phones, giving tours, assisting with check-in/check-out, preparing guest rooms after checkout, cleaning the facility, doing laundry, restocking supplies and staffing the front desk. COUNT has seven Housewarmers that try to volunteer for at least one four-hour shift per month.
Humanists Doing Good carried out a roadside cleanup on an adopted portion of a busy road with eleven volunteers. HDG bagged numerous bags of trash and are happy to report that repeated cleanings are having a positive impact.
The Humanist Community at Harvard hosted an event to bring attention to the lack of space and resources in Cambridge’s only youth homeless shelter. On any given night, the shelter is forced to turn away more than 200 young men and women. Titled “Stories & Solutions: Youth Homelessness in Harvard,” participants in this event heard firsthand stories from local young adults who have tried to use these services, the professionals who work in the shelters, and the activists who fight for greater systemic change around the issue of youth homelessness in Cambridge. In addition to learning more about this important issue, HCH held a donation drive for socks and underwear for under-resourced shelters, and participated in a letter campaign to support House Bill 135, which calls for increased resources targeted specifically for homeless youth.
Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation Community Service Committee collected canned food during a carnival in celebration of the Jewish holiday, Purim. They gathered 8-10 bags of canned food which will be given to a local food pantry. Kol Hadash also recycled water bottles that were purchased during the carnival for lunch. The water bottles were donated to a school that’s going to make a greenhouse out of them.
The Humanist Community of Ventura County rearranged thousands of books in the children section of the Simi Valley Library. It was a project the library staff had been putting off for months until HCVC volunteered.
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 demonstrate that all we really need is charity and goodness to make the world a better place.