May Beyond Belief Network Roundup!

We just finished rounding up reports from BBN volunteer teams for the month of May — including what teams reported for Secular Week of Action! Let’s check it out…


Recognitions

Our streak of adding new teams continues for a sixth straight month! A warm welcome goes to freshman team Staunton Oasis in Virginia. A big “welcome back” goes to returning teams Atheists of Florida and Humanist Community of Central Ohio!

May’s Team of the Month is Houston Freethought Oasis! For Secular Week of Action, members collected toiletries and assembled them into 55 kits (pictured below), which they then donated to the Houston Area Women’s Center.

Picture of the Month (top of page) comes from BBN Food Security Project team Atheists United (AU). It depicts an advertising event routinely held for this Los Angeles team’s big monthly giveaway. In May, AU recruited 6 volunteers to design, print, and distribute 130 colorful flyers in LA’s Historic Filipinotown. The team has been doing this for 11 months and reports they are getting pretty good at it!

As for the distribution itself, AU provided food and essentials to 122 families containing 434 household members. Additionally, they distributed dog, cat, and bird food to pet owners. It was their 11th monthly distribution event, and the team reports it’s been running very smoothly.

AU volunteers also kept up with a monthly commitment to read printed materials for people with visual impairments — a service provided through podcasting group Audio Information Network of Colorado.

Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless (AHH)

This Food Security Project team continued doing what they do best: holding a big monthly distribution of food and toiletries to people experiencing homelessness!

In May, this involved five volunteers braving heavy rain to pack 257 bags and 35 backpacks full of supplies. The next day, they hit up four major urban camping sites (and a few out-of-the-way ones) to hand out the supplies. This included 215 month-long bus passes, plus short-notice requests for dog food, firewood, and charcoal!

Thanks to support for the FBB Winter Relief Grant, Austin AHH was able to give out many more items than usual, including extra food and hand sanitizer!

Atheists of Florida (AoF)

Three years ago, this team received 1,000 pairs of socks from Bombas — a company that donates comfortable garments to unsheltered people. COVID-19 had interfered with AoF’s ability to hand out some 60 pairs left over after a distribution. So for Week of Action, the team finally gave the footwear to Tampa Bay Street Medicine — a university project providing free health services to impoverished people and refugees.

New Orleans Secular Humanist Association (NOSHA)

During hurricane season, excessive debris can clog drainage systems or pollute ecosystems in lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.

That’s why NOSHA participated in Storm Sweep 2021: a yearly cleanup organized by Lake Pontchartrain Conservancy. Pontchartrain is a large lake, but volunteers managed to clean almost a half mile of shoreline!

Center for Inquiry-Michigan

This freshly-vaccinated group resumed their annual Long Lake Workday, during which volunteers beautify a recreation site used for their annual retreat.

Projects included cleaning branches from trails; removing mass quantities of leaves; inspecting buildings for maintenance issues; wood chipping; and removing piled-up debris from cabin roofs. Wind prohibited volunteers from staining the buildings as planned, but otherwise they reported a wonderful day!

Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation Community Service Committee

This Chicago team collected food, diapers and other necessities for YouthBuild Lake County — a state program providing underserved youth with education and training in life skills.

They also collected homemade foods for Operation Gratitude, and joined a local pantry giveaway to feed about 300 cars’ worth of people!

Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT)

For Week of Action, COUNT kept their focus on fulfilling two monthly commitments: providing hospitality services at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House, and serving food at the Van Buren Center homeless shelter.

COUNT volunteers have so far contributed 1,710.9 hours to Ronald McDonald House and 1222.25 to the shelter since 2013!

To cap it off, COUNT joined up with the above-mentioned Humanist Community of Central Ohio to tidy an adopted stretch of highway. 17 volunteers gave 34 hours total.

Staunton Oasis

This brand-new team helped weed and plant at a farm run by Project Grows —a nonprofit that provides garden education and healthy food to local youth!

Fellowship of Freethought-Dallas

Volunteers collected eight bags of trash along their adopted stretch of highway — their contribution to the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-litter campaign.

Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC)

The Orlando-area CFFC removed trash in and around local Kewannee park — a six-acre facility that includes a pavilion, basketball court, playground, exercise stations, jogging path, boardwalk, restrooms, and pier. One volunteer even got on a boat to pull trash out of the park lake!

Atheist Community of Polk County (ACPC)

Your support for the Food Security Project helped these rocks stars in Florida hold a whopping 14 events in May!

Volunteers home-cooked and delivered meals to people experiencing food insecurity — mostly via a local charity called Street Warriors, but also through a coalition pantry ACPC helped start. They also distributed bags and backpacks full of groceries to families with children at a local elementary school!

To cap it off, ACPC also donated some time to the Great American Cleanup beautification project. A local nonprofit identified a roadside that needed cleaning, and ACPC members gathered 6 bags of trash from it.

Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP)

These desert denizens worked with two other local groups on a supplies drive for asylum seekers. Donors to our Food Security Project helped give HSGP a grant last month, which they used to buy essentials like hygiene items and over-the-counter medications.

These were all packed at HSGP’s community center. The team had a goal of packing 100+ bags of essentials, and FBB donors helped them complete 150!

HSGP thinks the event went very well, especially considering it came together quickly with a small group of dedicated volunteers.

Northwestern Chicagoland Humanist Crew

Seven participants collected over 50 items for a local pantry as their contribution to Week of Action. The team reported it was a great way to get involved with the local community, and to feel like they could make an impact during difficult times. The number of donations they received exceeded their expectations!

Afterward, members ran a virtual 5K to raise $350 for a women’s and children’s shelter.

Great job, teams!

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