Beyond Belief Network teams stayed busy in June

BBN teams are busy all year long, and July was no exception. Despite the heat, team members showed up in big ways to make a difference in their communities. 

Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless held a giveaway event that served about 200 people in 45 minutes! It was hot and very muggy, making everyone sweat copiously, so almost every bottled water was dispensed. The team requested input from the community and included special request items in the giveway – including Vaseline and hair grease. 

Columbus Coalition of Reason (CoR) volunteers worked as servers at the Community Shelter Board (CSB) facility in Columbus, Ohio. This was COUNT’s 31st joint shelter event with Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) members joining in. HCCO and COUNT are fellow Columbus 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, and clean tables. 83 Columbus CoR volunteers worked 878.0 hours in 43 events with the CSB to date and wear COUNT/HCCO branded t-shirts or name tags to raise awareness that they are non-theists doing charity.

COUNT volunteers also volunteered at the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) Conference in July. SSA conferences provide training to student activists on various aspects of organizing secular groups. For the fifth year, COUNT volunteers recorded presentations, registered attendees and served as ushers. They were then able to sit in on some sessions and get some training on organizing groups. 

Columbus Coalition of Reason (CoR) volunteers also spent time donating 5 units of blood for an event at the Carriage Place Red Cross Donor Center in Columbus, Ohio. Some donors make appointments (or walk-in) and give one unit of whole blood, while others do apheresis donating up to 3 units of platelets or 2 units of red blood cells. Donors become diners as they head to a nearby restaurant after to replenish. This was the ninth Columbus CoR 'Bleed-N-Feed' event since COUNT helped to expand the longstanding HCCO event. Members have spent 72 hours donating 65 units for Bleed-N-Feed events since January 2017. Events are planned for Third Thursdays in January, March, May, July, September and November.

COUNT volunteers also worked as Housewarmers in July at the Columbus Ohio Ronald McDonald House (RMH). RMH provides housing and meals to families with children being treated at Nationwide Childrens Hospital and other area hospitals. Housewarmers work with our guests to provide a home-like environment – greet, assist with family needs, answer phones, give tours, assist with checkin/checkout, prepare guest rooms after checkout, clean facility, laundry, restock supplies and staff the front desk. COUNT volunteers have contributed 1211 hours from the start of our involvement with RMH in 2013 through the end of July 2018. 11 volunteers have worked at least a handful of four hour shifts.

The Atheists of Florida hold four dinners each month in different areas in two counties. Volunteers bring personal hygiene items or clothing to the event, or they make a monetary donation. The team gathers the items together and takes them to their local thrift store – Out of the Closet. This "store" provides free HIV testing and has a pharmacy for AIDS medications, provided a valuable service to the local community. 

Members of Humanists Doing Good volunteered to help one of their members who had recently suffered a house fire and had to have a medical procedure. Volunteers pitched in to help this fellow member with yard work and were able to remove numerous unwanted trees, weed the yard, trim bushes and haul off dead vegetation. Now this member can continue to recuperate while enjoying time outside in her yard. It was a great opportunity to give back to one of the organization's original members who has contributed so much of her own time toward helping others. 

The Freethinkers Association of Central Texas (FACT) served 396 lunch meals to local residents, prepped 1,440 sandwiches for those who can't make one of the three main meals (like children heading to school or adults who work), cracked open 900 eggs for breakfast the next day, cut open and prepped 80 pounds of ground beef for a stew, and packed up 380 burritos for lunch. They were also joined by a team from Chase Bank to help accomplish this huge feat. Way to go, team!

Volunteers from FACT also built a wheelchair-accessible ramp for a low-income, disabled resident in Bexar County. The build was hampered somewhat by property managers, lightning, rain, and even a slip, but despite all of these challenges, they completed a sturdy 50 foot ramp with the help of 11 volunteers. 

Members of the Camden County Humanists volunteered in July keeping their mile-long stretch of road clean. Good. work keeping the streets clean!

Thanks to all Beyond Belief Network teams! You truly are #HumanismAtWork!