We just finished rounding what teams in the Beyond Belief Network (BBN) did to “spring” into humanist action in March!
First off: a big warm welcome to new team Southeastern Virginia Atheists, Skeptics, & Humanists (SEVASH)!
SEVASH describes themselves as “an informal social group that promotes fellowship and networking through social and community building activities.” We’re looking forward to hearing how they help their community!
Team of the Month goes to this newly-returned team! Three times in March, HSGP hosted a local nonprofit that runs a mobile shower unit for people experiencing homelessness. Clients could pop in for free showers, laundry, haircuts, clothes, supplies, letters of hope, and employment opportunities.
HSGP hosted the shower unit at their Humanist Community Center, and HSGP volunteers prepared the space and promoted the event ahead of time. They posted and handed out flyers in parks where unsheltered people congregate, and went around reminding people the day of.
HSGP also provided snacks, water, hot meals, bags of toiletries, clean underwear, clothes, tents, and other personal items for each client. Everyone left happy and a few folks came back multiple times.
The team eventually decided there were better places the shower unit could have more impact, but they consider this experiment a success. They tried something new, made allies, and helped people! Plus it stoked excitement for future volunteer opportunities. Those are good outcomes!
This IL team made several items for patients at a special care center for Alzheimer’s. Members made two fidget pillows and two fidget blankets using a variety of materials, with accessories such as zippers, buttons, pockets, and beads that help keep patients busy and in a good mood. Volunteers reported they had a great time making the items and felt great donating them!
HAPI participated in a bread donation drive for patients in local hospitals — the source of the above Picture of the Month! So far HAPI volunteers have distributed 1,800 bread to patients, all freshly baked in a HAPI team member’s own bakery. The team said they know bread isn’t enough to alleviate patients’ burdens, but that it definitely lifted their spirits.
This freshman BBN team volunteered twice for Houston Food Bank, sorting and packing food for people in need. Organizers reported a small turnout at the first event which quickly ballooned for the second. This included a young child who reportedly had a great time!
This highly active Florida team had eleven events in March, where they…
- Packed 75 meals for elementary school students experiencing food insecurity.
- Cleaned 12 bags of trash from their adopted highways.
- Prepared and gave out 158 hot meals for people experiencing food insecurity and homelessness.
The team made sure to note the total number of people at the homeless encampments they serve, and whether the same people tend to stick around.
COUNT kept up with a slate of volunteer commitments they fulfill every month:
- Helping and training adaptive athletes via Adaptive Sports Connection — a group that helps veterans, children, and adults who need adaptive equipment or instruction for sports like skiing, kayaking and cycling.
- Creating a homelike environment within the Ronald McDonald House, where families stay while their children are in nearby hospitals.
- Preparing and serving food at a local homeless shelter. (Volunteers wore branded aprons and name tags to raise awareness that they are non-theists doing charity.)
Still sticking with outdoor commitments while the pandemic continues, this team cleaned trash and debris from a six acre park. They’re hoping to do an even larger cleanup with the City of Orlando next month.
On the 3rd Friday of each month, Atheists United hosts a food distribution in partnership with the Los Angeles Food Bank in LA’s Historic Filipinotown neighborhood.
Volunteers rented a U-haul to pick up thousands of pounds of food from the bank; set up tents, tables, and signs; unpack the truck; sorted the food into meal packs; checked in guests; and distributed the food packs. This month AU distributed meals to over 110 families with the help of 16 volunteers. They even had a little extra food left over to give to a local homelessness encampment!
AU also kept up with a monthly commitment to read print ads for people with visual impairments (via Audio Information Network), and cleaned up AU’s adopted stretch of freeway.
Great month, teams!
This is just a sample of BBN teams’ hard work responding to inequality. We’re committed to supporting these teams through maintaining this network and providing grants to teams. 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.