December Beyond Belief Network Round-up

Our Beyond Belief Network (BBN) teams finished out the year in full force – bringing the good of humanism at work right to their communities!

BBN team, HAPI (Humanist Alliance Philippines, International,) hosted an event for the ARK Project, which was inspired by movies like Pay It Forward. ARK is an acronym for Act of Random Kindness, and at this event, members of HAPI handed out gifts and encouraged attendees to "pay forward" the kindness.

The Center for Inquiry-Michigan (CFI) hosted an event with Kids' Food Basket, which is an organization that provides sack suppers for children in the Greater Grand Rapids area. What started a decade ago serving 125 kids today serves 7,500 in the area. Area volunteers, like CFI’s secular service volunteers, help package items that will be included in those sack suppers. While the adults were packaging food items, some of their children were decorating the bags that the dinners would be served in. This is the 8th year that CFI has participated in this program. Working with Kids' Food Basket is always a great success.

Brevard Area Atheists picked up trash on a section of road in Melbourne, Florida.  They had a number of volunteers, and everyone had a good time. They all enjoyed a lovely breakfast afterwards.

Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) held its 23nd joint Community Shelter Board (CSB) event with Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) members joining in. HCCO and COUNT are fellow Columbus Coaltion of Reason (CoR) groups. CSB provides housing and meals to homeless families and individual men and women in Central Ohio. Some volunteers serve dinners while others wash dishes, mop floors, file forms and clean tables. Columbus CoR volunteers worked over 753 hours in 36 events with the CSB to date. COUNT volunteers also worked as Housewarmers Columbus Ronald McDonald House (RMH). RMH provides housing and meals to families with children being treated at Nationwide Children's Hospital and other area hospitals. Housewarmers work with guests to provide a home-like environment – they greet, assist with family needs, answer phones, give tours, assist with checkin/checkout, prepare guest rooms after checkout, clean the facility, do laundry, restock supplies, and staff the front desk. COUNT volunteers have contributed 1092 hours from the start of their involvement with RMH in 2013 through the end of December 2017.

Pikes Peak Atheists & Pikes Peak Atheist Families worked to collect items for the TESSA Toy & Needs Drive. Pikes Peak Atheists collected 259 items to help the domestic violence victims that TESSA serves. They were also joined by fellow BBN team, Atheist Community of Colorado Springs, who collected an additional 32 items for the drive, bringing the total to 291.  The donations included mostly toys, teen items, games, puzzles, books, movies, clothes and crafts for kids. There were also a number of items for guardians, including a grocery gift card, new décor items, and a big pile of gift wrapping necessities! They were able to beat last year’s total of 204 items collected, and, more importantly, they showed the folks at TESSA what being good without god can look like.  

BE.Orlando hosted an event dubbed "Winter Wonderland" in December. Volunteers sponsored, prepared, and served dinner for the residents of SafeHouse of Seminole, a domestic violence shelter. They decorated the dining room with snowflakes and snowmen, served honey baked ham, turkey breast, a variety of sides, and great desserts.  One member brought a candy-making project for after dinner and the kids (and adults, too!) had a blast making fun candies, which they baked and enjoyed together! (Featured photo)

BE.Orlando also had a long beach hike at Klondike Beach/Paradise Path at Canaveral National Seashore. The hike required a special pass, and it is an uninhabited, wild area inaccessible except by hiking down the beach. The hike began early in the morning, and the last hour was trash cleanup. They were able to collect 8 bags of trash. 

Lastly this month, BE.Orlando also continued their December tradition of Elfing Day! This event was held the last day of the Holiday STEM-Themed Toy Drive and blood drive. They were joined by the Central Florida Freethought Community and enjoyed a beautiful day of outdoor games, building secular community, and engaging with the public. Their partner this year was Rock & Brews, which provided the space to set up and the gift cards to blood donors.  They collected more than 50 toys and 11 units of blood. The toys were delivered to SafeHouse of Seminole.

Secular Humanists of Roanoke assisted the Watershed Wise Warriors cleaning up trails. They removed invasive plants, picked up litter, and did anything else needed. It was a few hours of hard work and fun.

The Secular Student Alliance at the College of Southern Nevada gave hygiene supplies and weather-appropriate clothing items to about 50 people. The weather was extremely cold, but they didn't run out of supplies, and everyone in line was able to get the items they needed.

The South Texas Atheists for Reason (STAR) worked at the San Antonio Food Bank in December, as they often do. Volunteers assisted the food bank in preparing the garden plots for community use for those who need them in and around the San Antonio area. 

STAR also provides a Humanist Chaplain and volunteers to facilitate a discussion to Air Force Basic Trainees at Lackland Airforce Base. They met several times in December with 950-103 trainees in attendance each time. They discussed fallacies and how to spot them, how to deal with death without religion, showed science and nerd news updates, and ended their service with a perspective video.

Great work, BBN Teams!