Let's take a look at what some of our Beyond Belief Network teams were up to in November!
Columbus Coalition of Reason (CoR) volunteers worked as servers at the Community Shelter Board (CSB) facility in Columbus, Ohio. This was COUNT’s 35th 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. About 85 Columbus CoR volunteers worked 934.0 hours in 50 events with the CSB to date. They wear COUNT/HCCO branded t-shirts or name tags to raise awareness that they are non-theists doing charity work. Once the dishes are done, they adjourn to the Omnipresent Atheists (also part of Columbus CoR) meetup, already in progress, for dinner, drinks and conversation.
CoR volunteers also spent a total of 12 hours donating 9 units of blood for the Carriage Place Red Cross Donor Center in Columbus, Ohio. Some donors make appointments (or walk-in) and give 1 unit of whole blood while others do apheresis donating up to 3 units of platelets or 2 units of red blood cells. Donors then become diners as they head to a nearby restaurant to replenish. This was the 12th Columbus CoR Bleed-N-Feed event, and completes the 2nd year of these events since the Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) helped to expand the longstanding Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) event. CoR members spent 89 hours donating 78 units for Bleed-N-Feed events since January 2017. Events are planned for Third Thursdays in January, March, May, July, September and November.
A COUNT member is being trained as a Winter Sports Volunteer as part of COUNT’s pilot effort to explore working with Adaptive Sports Connection (ASC.) The ASC is a chapter of Disabled Sports USA, and helps Central Ohio veterans, children, and adults who need adaptive equipment or instruction to participate in various sports including skiing, kayaking and cycling. ASC maintains a modest fleet of adaptive sit-down and standup equipment for novice skiers and snowboarders with various capabilities. Trained Winter Sports Volunteers assist certified lead instructors in giving 1.5 hour lessons to students with various handicaps, sometimes skiing behind and tethered to the student to control speed. Volunteers help assess students, select outriggers and other equipment, and adjust before the lesson and help during the lesson. Students may be accompanied by a friend or family member who will learn how to assist with getting on and off lifts so that students can ski or snowboard without instructors. “If I can do this, I can do anything!” is the Disabled Sports USA motto (https://www.disabledsportsusa.org/).
COUNT volunteers also worked as Housewarmers at the Columbus Ohio Ronald McDonald House (RMH). One of these volunteers, Vickie Y, had spent a total of 210 additional hours knitting 105 hats, which she donated this month. RMH provides housing and meals to families with children being treated at Nationwide Children’s 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. RMH will either offer hats to guests or sell them to raise operating funds. COUNT volunteers have contributed 1280 hours from the start of their involvement with RMH in 2013 through the end of November 2018.
Members of the Secular Humanists of Roanoke joined other volunteers to help clean up the Roanoke river trail at Explore Park. They collected a lot of trash left behind by the recent flooding.
Jefferson Humanists volunteers conducted a jacket/coat drive to benefit low income residents of Jefferson County and those experiencing homelessness in their community. The donated coats were gathered by members of Jefferson Humanists and donated to The Action Center for distribution. Members donated more than 50 items!
Atheists of Florida participated in an event showcasing authors and signings, author talks, and a wide range of books on all topics for sale. The event was produced and hosted by the Tampa Bay Times.