Beyond Belief Network teams reported nearly 30 events and 1,000 hours of service in the month of April. We already celebrated BE. Orlando for earning April Team of the Month honors and Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families for capturing the April Picture of the Month. Here's what the rest of our incredible BBN teams were up to!
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless distributed items to 200 people at their April giveaway, a group record! In addition to the regular toiletries, water, fruit, crackers, etc., 17 Austin AHH volunteers distributed two large bags of clothes, which flew off the tables. Particularly popular were the set of professional men's clothes that had been donated by supporters in San Antonio. Feminine hygiene products were provided in collaboration with Support the Girls – Austin, an organization dedicated to providing assistance to women who are low-income or experiencing homelessness.
Six Brevard Area Atheists volunteers filled 9 heavy duty garbage bags with 50 pounds of roadside trash. Month after month, the group gets out there to keep its community clean!
Volunteers from the Center for Inquiry – Michigan helped prepare raised garden beds at Well House, a Grand Rapids organization that provides housing as a solution to homelessness. The project involved turning and breaking up soil to prepare for spring planting of gardens for Well House residents to grow their own vegetables.
Thirteen volunteers from the Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) and the Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) worked as servers at the Community Shelter Board (CSB) facility in Columbus, Ohio. It was the sixteenth joint shelter event with the two Columbus Coalition of Reason groups. To date, 72 Columbus CoR volunteers have worked 608.5 hours in 29 events with the Community Shelter Board. CSB provides housing and meals to homeless families and individual men and women in Central Ohio. Some volunteers serve dinners while others wash dishes, mop floors, file forms and clean tables.
Also in April, 5 COUNT volunteers also worked as Housewarmers at the Columbus, Ohio Ronald McDonald House, which provides housing and meals to families with children being treated at Nationwide Children's Hospital and other area hospitals. To date, 17 COUNT volunteers have contributed 905 hours from the start of their involvement with the Ronald McDonald House in 2013.
Humanist Alliance Philippines, International organized a cleanup drive of the Anilao River. After four hours of collecting trash, the volunteers distributed food to children.
Volunteers from the Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation Community Service Committee made no-sew fleece blankets for Chai Lifeline, which provides emotional support to children facing serious illnesses. This event took place after their regular Sunday School session. Students, their parents, and a number of grandparents who had been attending Sunday School that day with their grandchildren participated in this event. They have been doing this project for the past few years. Note that not all participants were community members – grandparents and guests participated as well as adult members and their children.
Fourteen members of Minnesota Atheists volunteered on a blustery spring afternoon to sort donated canned goods and household items for distribution to local food shelves. One stalwart volunteer showed up despite having just had a pituitary tumor removed! The volunteers packed 3,535 pounds or enough for 2,946 meals! Ten Minnesota Atheist volunteers also helped out at The Family Place in April. They purchased ingredients to make a chicken and cheesy hash brown dinner. Thirteen guests were served, and plenty of leftovers remained to feed people into the next week.
South Jersey Humanists had a table at the very punk-rock Smithville Art Walk. Amidst all the dark and goth art sold at other tables, SJH offered participants a chance to get a picture with their realistic Flying Spaghetti Monster. The price of the picture was a donation to the Narenj Tree Foundation, a local group collecting essential supplies and shipping them to Syrian refugee camps. Even people who weren't interested in a photo-op with the FSM pitched in, and SJH collected $103 over the course of the day.
Volunteers from the South Texas Atheists for Reason (STAR) helped prepare garden plots at the San Antonio Food Bank for needy folks in the area. STAR continued to see impressive attendance ranging from 873 to 1,000 at the weekly discussions facilitated by humanist chaplains at Lackland Air Force Base (Pictured at the top of this post in our featured photo.) At the third meeting, they had to turn away 54 trainees because they were at max capacity for the meeting space! STAR also pitched in with the San Antonio River Authority "Watershed Wise Warriors" volunteering program to clean up the trails and remove invasive species.
Sunday Assembly Los Angeles hosted an afternoon of board games for residents of the People Concern, an organization that aims to end homelessness for LA's most vulnerable – primarily adults with mental illness – through a continuum of services and housing. SALA volunteers provided snacks and prizes and taught several games to the residents. SALA members also sorted baby clothes with Baby2Baby.
Great work, BBN teams! To learn how you can become a BBN team, click here.