Even as temperatures soar, BBN teams committed to service
23 Jul 2015
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.
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT), a Level 3 team, were July’s Team of the Month! Four COUNT members volunteered at the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) Conference from July 10-12, 2015. SSA conferences provide training to student activists on various aspects of organizing secular groups. For the second year, COUNT volunteers recorded presentations and transported speakers/attendees to/from the airport. In a separate event, nine COUNT volunteers also worked as servers on July 14th, 2015 at the Community Shelter Board (CSB) facility in Columbus, Ohio. CSB provides housing and meals to homeless families and individual men and women in Central Ohio. Some volunteers served dinners while others wash dishes, mop floors, and clean tables.
Humanists Doing Good submitted July’s Picture of the Month. In this event, the Level 2 team partnered with the Grow Another Row organization to harvest cherries generously donated by Fruit Basket Orchards in Colorado. Volunteers harvested 14 boxes of cherries totaling 242 pounds that will be donated to a community food bank and a teen shelter. Volunteers were also able to take home some cherries as an added bonus.
Corpus Christi Atheists in Corpus Christi, TX reached Level 3. Recently, fourteen members of the team gathered to clean Oak Park in the city. Earlier this month, team members raised $350 to donate to the first event of a new secular parenting group in their city: a trip to the Texas State Aquarium. The donations were intended to help some of the parents, who were unable to afford the trip, bring their families and as a way to contribute to their community building efforts. In a separate event, several members of Corpus Christi Atheists conducted an impromptu beach cleanup during Independence Day weekend. The team is proud of their members for seeing a need and reacting to it in the moment.
Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) is now a Level 3 team! In May, Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) Chairwoman Marissa Torres Langseth celebrated her birthday with HAPI's adopted community of 200 children in Alabang. HAPI also handed out 150 sets of school supplies for each child. Each set included 5 notebooks, 2 writing pads, 3 pencils, and 3 pens. Last month, HAPI offered the children basic training on disaster preparedness. The training covered fundamental lifesaving steps before, during, and after disasters. Also in June, seven HAPI members attended U.S. Embassy's first reception celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. This month, Bacolod chapter officers and members of the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) joined the Most At-Risk People (MARP) Consultative Conference. MARP Consultative Conference was a two-day conference about updates on HIV/AIDS, focusing on cases recorded in the Negros Island Region.
Springfield Skeptics, a Level 1 team, participated in The Greater Ozarks Pridefest. This year, the team was asked by the Pride planning committee to organize an event that could be held for secular LGBTQ+ people. The team asked James Croft, Humanist and Co-Leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, to come speak at that event. When they learned more about Mr. Croft, the planning committee requested that he deliver the Invocation and Keynote speech at the event. Springfield Skeptics also marched with their banner in the Equality March and tabled at the event, talking to lots of people about what a Skeptic is and what they've done with the LGBTQ+ community.
Fellowship of Freethought Dallas (FoFD) reached Level 3! In June, they prepared their monthly meal for the Supper Club program of AIDS Services of Dallas. AIDS Services of Dallas is a 501(c)3 organization that provides medically supportive housing to low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS. The Supper Club program provides residents with a hot, nutritious, home-cooked meal every night. The team made a build your own sandwich/sub bar for the residents. In a separate event that same month, FoFD held an outdoor/BBQ gathering and sold bottled water and tea to help fund a special project of Homeless Nexus–purchasing bug spray for the members of the Dallas tent city served by that program. They raised $140 in sales/donations. The leftover drinks and food from the BBQ were later taken by a volunteer to the members of the tent city.
Seven members of Pennsylvania Nonbelievers in Harrisburg, PA cleaned up one side of their section of highway in Eastern York County in beautiful weather.
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless (ATXAHH) had another successful donation drive and giveaway. This team was one of the first to reach Level 3 this year. Between June 15 & July 19, ATXAHH volunteers solicited donations from the community via word of mouth and social media. They collected 3,189 items, setting a new team record for this year. The team wishes to extend special thanks to the residents of the Wells Branch Neighborhood in north Austin, who donated over 800 items as part of their July Extreme Clean event. Since last month's giveaway, six members of the ATXAHH Gettin' Knotty group knitted & crocheted 26 washcloths. Some of these members also continue to work on plastic yarn sleeping mats. These will be handed out at a future giveaway. On July 19, 38 ATXAHH volunteers gathered under a bridge in downtown Austin where they handed out items to 128 people experiencing homelessness. One of the volunteers constructed line dividers to help the giveaway line move as quickly as possible. ATXAHH also live tweeted their giveaway for the first time this month. They plan to live tweet future giveaways.
Another Level 3 team, Tri-State Freethinkers in Union, KY, installed 52 smoke detectors for the Avondale community.
South Jersey Humanists in Galloway, NJ grew vegetables at a local community garden, which they donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. In June, their early yield was 9.9 lbs of zucchini, cucumbers, and carrots. South Jersey Humanists are a Level 1 team.
Minnesota Atheists, a Level 3 team, volunteered at The Family Place in St. Paul, MN. The organization serves homeless families with children. Volunteers purchased groceries, made the meal, dined with the families home style and cleaned up the kitchen/dining area. The team also volunteered with The Food Group. The Food Group addresses the issue of hunger in the community by supplying food to several food shelves in the Twin Cities. Every month, a very dedicated group of Minnesota Atheists spends two hours packing food for those in need.
Last month, Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in Charleston, SC sorted food that was donated to the Lowcountry food bank. In a separate event, they built a wheelchair ramp at an individual's home.
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.
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless, Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT), Corpus Christi Atheists, Fellowship of Freethought Dallas, Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI), Humanists Doing Good, Minnesota Atheists, Pennsylvania Nonbelievers, Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, South Jersey Humanists, Springfield Skeptics, Tri-State Freethinkers