BBN teams celebrate Christmas by giving gifts and food to the needy
By Elizabeth Dorssom, BBN 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 January, BBN is observing National Mentoring Month and encouraging teams to forge mentoring relationships with young adults or other secular humanist groups.
December’s Team of the Month, FreeOK, reported on their Holiday Humanist Gifting Project:
“Throughout the months of November and December, FreeOK registered 102 needy children in Oklahoma to be recipients of gifts from volunteers through the Humanist Gifting Project. We had 47 direct adoptions (volunteers gift-adopting specific children from our list) with the rest coming in purchases from the Amazon wish list we set up for national support. The bulk of the gifts, being taken to local recovery shelter Jordan's Crossing, was picked up Friday, with the rest being delivered as far as Tulsa by volunteer drivers from OKC on Christmas Eve.”
We loved this event, and we’ve been encouraging beneficiaries and BBN teams to use Amazon wish lists as a fundraising tool.
The Humanist Community at Harvard recently opened the Humanist Hub, a nonreligious community center in Harvard Square. At their grand opening event, they had a great lineup of speakers and showcased their humanist values by organizing a food drive for the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Lehigh Valley Humanists (LVH) hosted a free Christmas dinner to homeless people and retirees in their community. One of the LVH members owns a pizza restaurant and decided to offer a free dinner to area homeless and retirement community shut-ins. A few hundred meals were either served at the restaurant or delivered door to door to the retirement communities. Restaurant staff cooked the meals: ham, turkey, and all the sides/trimmings of a traditional holiday meal. LVH worked with other volunteers to greet guests, serve food, deliver food, and bus tables. This event was featured in a segment on a local news station, WFMZ-TV, and in The Morning Call, a local paper.
Illini Secular Student Alliance teamed up with the University of Illinois Red Cross Club to host a blood drive with the Red Cross. In the University YMCA, ISSA encouraged group members and friends to donate blood. In total, 43 units of blood were collected, which was higher than their quota! In November, ISSA also organized a charity benefit concert, Rock the Night, featuring seven local bands. They raised more than $600 and donated the proceeds to ISSA’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk team and the Foundation for International Medical Relief for Children.
Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry helped the Charleston Parks Conservancy trim back existing plants and plant new bulbs in a city park. They recently reached Level Three of Beyond Belief Network by having at least twelve service events in a single calendar year!
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 show the world that all we really need is charity and goodness to make the world a better place.