We just finished rounding up what teams in the Beyond Belief Network (BBN) did as Valentines for their communities in February!
The last two groups hit the ground running, scooping up Team of the Month and Picture of the Month for February!
Team of the Month: Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC)
This team kicked off their return to BBN by removing trash at Kewannee Park: a six-acre site that includes a pavilion, basketball court, playground, exercise stations, jogging path, boardwalk, restrooms, and pier. Even though their volunteer numbers were lower than usual because of COVID, they still showed up and made a difference in their community. Next month, they plan to bring a boat to pull trash from the water. Great job CFFC!
Picture of the Month: Humanists Doing Good (HDG)
This snapshot shows one of the HDG volunteers who painted cabinets and shelves at a local food bank. Volunteers reported this was a tough job because of the difficult physical work at odd angles and limited space, but they gave it their all!
This Colorado team has been known to wear a lot of hats at food banks. They also volunteered twice more in February at a second site— a location where they have contributed 101 hours since April 2020. The work HDG performs includes (but isn’t limited to):
- Folding, taping, labeling, and filling boxes with non-perishable food
- Opening shrink-wrapped pallets of canned and bagged food
- Stocking the food bank “assembly line” with cardboard flats of goods
- Stacking boxes on pallets (50 food boxes per pallet)
- Breaking down/flattening cardboard for recycling
- Bagging fresh produce such as potatoes, apples, and onions
- Office and clerical work, like helping with thank-you letters to donors
Food insecurity has risen because of COVID-19, and HDG’s consistent volunteering is making an important impact counteracting that trend. Thank you HDG!
ACPC are truly becoming warriors against hunger!
Each month, this group partners with an anti-hunger organization called Street Warriors to hand-deliver food to people without homes. This month, they prepared, packed, and gave out:
- 49 meals of hot shepherd’s pie (with ingredients provided by food pantry It Takes a Village, which ACPC helped establish).
- A big ol’ heap of pork chops, chicken, gravy, stuffing, mixed vegetables, and strawberries. (Volunteers got compliments on the dishes, and not just because people were happy to eat something that didn’t come from a can!)
- 45 servings of frozen lasagna
- Over 130 other assorted meals
- 2 boxes of pastries, 3 boxes of apples, 1 box of zucchini, 1 box of green peppers, 4 cases of water bottles, one casserole dish, and one bicycle!
Also: by getting to know one of their regulars, volunteers were able to give him a tent, sleeping bag, a rolling carry-on bag, some clothes, and food! All items came from donations to Street Warriors by members of ACPC.
When the man found out the jeans given to him were just his size, he commented “y’all must be God sent!” The team just commented back: “We are just happy we can help!”
One would think that’s where this section would end, but ACPC also packed and delivered even more food for people experiencing food insecurity through a separate nonprofit called PowerPack. This consisted of 87 hot meals, mostly given to students at a local elementary school!
Finally, the team picked up trash from their adopted stretch highway, filling up several bags of trash and collecting two old tires.
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT)
COUNT had a great month volunteering for Adaptive Sports Connection, which helps adaptive athletes participate in seasonal sports. This month, volunteers helped teach over a dozen lessons to people experiencing disabilities such as blindness, autism, and more. They also attended several clinics to expand their understanding of the sports, and even helped repair a sitski.
On top of all that, COUNT members kept up with regular commitments working as “housewarmers” in the Ronald McDonald House, and in the kitchen at a local homeless shelter! Nice!
Atheists United (AU)
AU continued being of service to Audio Information Network of Colorado (AIN), by reading print advertisements for people with visual impairments. This is a 2.5 hour process each session, consisting of finding, reading, editing, and finishing files for a Monday podcast.
During a volunteer appreciation event (where an AU volunteer won a raffle prize), AIN said that reading store fliers is one of their harder jobs, and a difficult position to fill. The volunteer responded she was just happy to do what is needed! (She also told us that even though she is not a big shopper, reading all the coupons probably now qualifies her for the Price is Right!)
NCHC jumped into some citizen science in February, working on Zooniverse’s Snapshot Grumeti project, which has participants classify animals that they see in camera trap photographs. The photos are all taken on the Singita Grumeti Game Reserve, situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
Over the second half of February, four group members viewed over 1,500 pictures to identify animals to help conservation efforts! They found it a wonderful socially-distanced activity that helped keep their group connected.
The team also wrapped up a card-writing event for residents at Center for Enriched Living (CEL), which helps people with developmental disabilities participate in community life. Due to the pandemic, CEL clients are experiencing reduced contact with family. So they asked people to write cards letting people know someone is thinking of them. NCHC reports it was an enjoyable experience!
This is just a sample of BBN teams’ hard work responding to inequality. We’re committed to supporting these teams through organizing this network and providing the grants we mentioned above. We want to keep reaching more new teams and provide more resources. But we can’t do it alone. When you have a moment, please chip in a little to the BBN program here.