by Wendy Webber, Beyond Belief Network Coordinator and Humanist Disaster Recovery Coordinator
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.
Congratulations to Humanists Doing Good in Grand Junction, CO who submitted this month’s Picture of the Month. The picture was taken while volunteers cleaned up the Clifton Nature Park section of the Colorado Riverside Trail system in Colorado.
Corpus Christi Atheists collected over $300 worth of Easter baskets, candy, and toys for displaced children currently residing in the Women's Shelter of South Texas. They also cleaned their adopted park, Oak Park, and had their inaugural clean-up of their adopted mile of South Texas Beach. Joining other organizations they cleaned a total of eight miles of beach and completely filled a 20-yard-long dumpster with the garbage they removed.
At the Food Group, Minnesota Atheist volunteers repacked rice from 50lb bags to usable 2lb bags. They packed 1,680 lbs. of rice or enough to help feed 2,016 people. The repacked food will then eventually be distributed to various food shelves throughout the Twin Cities. They also purchased ingredients for a tasty Sloppy Joe dinner at the Family Place. Over a dozen guests attended the meal. The volunteers dined with the families and then cleaned up afterward.
Humanists of Houston joined thousands participating in the largest single day waterway cleanup in the state of Texas, the River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash®. They picked up trash along the bayou in a local public park. They also gave away donated items to the homeless in a parking lot downtown.
South Texas Atheists for Reason, one of BBN’s newest teams, helped 90 people on the streets of San Antonio by providing hygiene supplies, water, healthy snacks, and some clothing items. Members of STAR also assisted in the planting of over 1000 trees to help the San Antonio River Authority conservation effort.
Volunteers from Humanists Doing Good cleaned up the Clifton Nature Park section of the Colorado Riverside Trail system in Colorado. Volunteers removed several tires, cleaned dog waste along the trail and packed out the trash they discovered along the trail, riverbank, and lake. A mannequin's head and foot were separately found in the river and proved to be the most unusual discoveries of the day. The volunteers were thanked by many people making use of the trail system and they even received a $20 donation from a person who appreciated the cleanup effort.
Austin Humanists at Work’s Beyond the Basics group decorated & filled 50 "Because You Matter" bags with jokes, inspirational quotes, and kids' drawings. There were all kinds of items in the bags, including candy, gum, activity books, playing cards, and snacks. Their knit & crochet group, Gettin' Knotty, met in the cafe of a local bookstore to knit, crochet, share items, and chat. They created four washcloths that added were added to the solicited donations for their giveaway. On the morning of March 27, 2016, volunteers gathered under a bridge in downtown Austin to hand out basic living items to people in need. With the support of their community, they were able to hand out over 1900 items to 146 individuals experiencing homelessness.
South Jersey Humanists helped sort donations in the warehouse of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey's Southern Branch.
On April 2nd, Omaha Atheists organized their third ceramics painting and board game event at St Joseph's retirement community. They helped the residents paint ceramics, played board games, and visited with them. They also participated in and raised $200 in funds for the Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk.
Humanist Alliance Philippines, International spent three hours teaching volunteers to teach the HAPI Literacy program. They also discussed women empowerment and taught kids human rights. HAPI also held their monthly nutritional campaign for 200 kids in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
Central Ohio United Non-Theists volunteers joined the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) on April 23rd, 2016 at the new River Bluff park in Columbus, Ohio for Earth Day Tree Planting. The River Bluff site is in Mt. Air (near Columbus) and is being prepared for use as a park. FLOW provided a cookout after the hundreds of trees were planted. This was the third annual tree planting event that COUNT has participated in and was lots of fun with some families with young children participating.
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.