by Elizabeth Minutello, Beyond Belief Network Intern
Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups volunteering in their communities and raising money for FBB’s featured charities and programs. Any group with a public secular humanist or atheist identity is welcome to join, regardless of experience or group size.
May Team of the MonthFreethought Dayton volunteered at the Foodbank, an organization fighting to relieve hunger in Miami Valley. They separated food donated by the National Letter Carrier Food Drive into different categories and packed it to be distributed to various food pantries in the tri-county area. They packed about three bins of groceries. Earlier this month, five members of Freethought Dayton packed about one pallet of “weekend backpacks,” a supply of nutritious food for food-insecure children to take home from school over the weekend.
A local Camp Fire group invited Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless to speak about their group’s efforts as part of their Volunteerism path. Three teenage Camp Fire girls and their leader collected 70 items to donate to ATXAHH’s next giveaway! In addition, five ATXAHH volunteers made twelve donation pick-ups from around the Austin community. They collected more items this month than anyone could recall, ranging from clothing to books to basic living supplies. Their Knitting Guild, Gettin’ Knotty, also contributed twenty-five crocheted washcloths. This is Gettin’ Knotty’s first donation. At the giveaway on May 18, twenty-one volunteers distributed basic living supplies to approximately seventy-five people who are homeless in Austin, TX. As a bonus, two adult volunteers have agreed to oversee their proposed Youth Events and Activities (YEA) program. Each quarter, their youth volunteers gather to make special items to distribute at the monthly giveaways. ATXAHH also recently received a $250 grant from Beyond Belief Network to purchase supplies!
Ethics in Action also volunteered to help the needy at the St. Louis Food Bank. The Food Bank receives a variety of products from community food drives, local and national food manufacturers, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This food gets distributed by their 500+ partner agencies, including soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters, serving families in need throughout 14 counties in Missouri and 12 counties in Illinois. Volunteers packed 23,712 pounds of food into 912 boxes to provide nutrition assistance for the elderly. Families with children packed 165 boxes full of “smiles”—that is, all the non-nutritious donations (cookies and candy). This will provide approximately 23,532 meals to the greater St Louis area.
Corrina Allen, co-founder of the Central New York Humanist Association, was the guest speaker at the Freethinkers of Upstate New York monthly meeting. In addition to discussing humanism in action and Foundation Beyond Belief, she encouraged members to join and participate in upcoming volunteer work. As a reminder to all BBN teams, educational and other service-related outreach counts as volunteering. Providing information about humanism is important work, too.
Volunteers from Siouxland Freethinkers went out to their 1.5-mile adopted stretch of highway in Moody County, SD, and collected a large amount of cans, bottles, and other litter.
Humanist Community at Harvard has built off of the huge success of their Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Meal Packing events by launching a permanent meal packing station at the Hub. This station will allow them to pack more than 2,000 meals every month. In April, they packed more than 3,600 macaroni and cheese meals. On May 11, HCH packed more than 2,400 rice and bean meals. All meals will be donated to a local nonprofit, Solutions at Work. Read more about the meal packing table and how to donate to the cost of food here.
Corpus Christi Atheists participated in a full day of community cleanup, yard work, and house painting in a rural colonia settlement in South Texas.
Secular Hub joined scores of citizens in helping to clean up and restore parks and greenway along the Platte River.
Humanist Community of Central Ohio attended the BREAD Nehemiah Action event, an interfaith coalition of more than 50 congregations from across Columbus, Ohio, to fight for systemic change in areas including mental health care, education, and immigration. For more information, check out HCCO’s blog.
Eight members of Upstate Atheists cleaned their adopted road in Greenville, South Carolina. In addition to collecting trash, they also found a turtle.
If you are a member of a secular humanist or atheist group and would like to participate in community service projects under the national umbrella of Foundation Beyond Belief, join Beyond Belief Network. We welcome all atheist groups interested in service, from groups with extensive volunteer experience to newly formed groups new to secular service. By aggregating our efforts, we demonstrate that all we really need is charity and goodness to make the world a better place.