Beyond Belief Network April team of the month
18 May 2017
BE. Orlando is our Beyond Belief Network Team of the Month for April! Each year BE. Orlando hosts a humanist outreach tent at Central Florida Earth Day. The festival itself is an environmental advocacy event, and 100% of the proceeds benefit local animal rescue agencies. This year they donated a gift basket from a local family-owned nursery to support the fundraising efforts.
This is also the third year BE. Orlando organized a blood drive at the festival, and they do the same thing at Veg Fest in the fall. Across the two festivals over the past three years BE. Orlando has helped 120 blood donors impact nearly 350 lives!
There were more than 250 vendors at Earth Day, and the March for Science occurred in the same location, so there were plenty of visitors to BE. Orlando's booth. The BE. Orlando table featured a "lives saved" display of red dots for every life saved at the festival blood drives since 2014, as well as photos and information about BE. Orlando, an Ask an Atheist Day display and a board for people to add positive messages about BEing (Just BE….________.) The group had a donation jar and raised $41 to support the meal they served in April at the Ronald McDonald House.
For the dinner at the Ronald McDonald House, volunteers prepared a healthy and creative variety of Italian-themed foods, including pasta dishes, veggie dishes, salads, bruschetta, appetizers, and more. This was in addition to the monthly meal BE. Orlando serves the second Wednesday of every month at SafeHouse of Seminole. This month’s meal theme was “Breakfast for Dinner”, and BE. Orlando's chef team had an amazing time preparing mini egg souffles, breakfast casseroles, organic apple walnut fruit salad, meats, potatoes, french toast casserole and more – there were more than 20 different dishes prepared by the team! The group strives to make fun food for kids, healthy options, vegetarian and vegan options, and yummy comfort food at every event.
Also in April, BE. Orlando learned that an elderly man in their area had been caring for two colonies of feral cats for the last 20 years, and the local rescue/feral cat management agencies were unable to help. This gentleman has experienced some illness in the past months and needs assistance. Volunteers met with him to provide guidance and ideas, as well as to determine additional ways the group could help. One of the major challenges was financial resources, so BE. Orlando is planning some supply drives to help him out. It was a great opportunity to educate volunteers about the challenges associated with feral cat colony management, TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs, health care, and the challenges faced by animal rescue agencies, such as lack of volunteers and funding.
Congratulations to our BBN team of the month, BE. Orlando! You are humanism at work!