We’re Non-Religious and We Volunteer

The Foundation Beyond Belief (which I’m on the board of) has begun a new program designed to help local atheist/Humanist groups find opportunities to help other people on a regular basis. We’re calling it Volunteers Beyond Belief:

The Volunteers Beyond Belief program launched in July 2011 with chapters in eight U.S. cities and plans to expand to 16 chapters by the end of 2011.

The national organization assists local chapters in finding volunteer opportunities and in committing to a regular schedule of volunteer events, making hands-on volunteering a major part of their groups’ activity and identity.

The Triangle Freethought Society in Raleigh, North Carolina completed their first event — sorting good and bad potatoes for a local food bank in order to help feed over 6,000 people — and Volunteer Amy wrote about her experience:

Despite the hot conditions and the less-than-desirable potato task, I feel sure that all of us were very glad to have taken part. Our enthusiasm and humor remained high, and rubbed off on the others we worked with. I was so proud to be there as a member of a secular organization working to bring about good for goodness’ sake. It is vital that nonbelievers participate in the community in order to work towards destroying the misguided perception that we are unethical and amoral. As a humanist, I also believe it is so important that we do everything we can to leave the world a better place than when we came into it.

How awesome is that? And this is only the beginning. There’s no reason our charitable output can’t match that of any church’s.

If your group is interested in becoming a VBB chapter, you can fill out the application here.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • aimee eisiminger

    This is great.  I am already a volunteer at the local pet shelter, I go once a week to clean cages and play with the cats.  It is a good feeling to help out in this way.  I also volunteer at my children’s school from time to time but they are in Middle School now and it is not as easy to volunteer there.  For some reason they do not wish to see you there.  

  • aimee eisiminger

    This is great.  I am already a volunteer at the local pet shelter, I go once a week to clean cages and play with the cats.  It is a good feeling to help out in this way.  I also volunteer at my children’s school from time to time but they are in Middle School now and it is not as easy to volunteer there.  For some reason they do not wish to see you there.  

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

    How is Chicago not one of the first cities?

    And, assuming Chicago is in the works, who is the contact?

    • Amy

      Each group had to apply to be chosen as a VBB team. Any secular group in Chicago who is interested in being a part of this can submit an application – I know they are planning to expand this project, and relatively soon.

  • Annie

    I would love to start a program in my community, but we don’t have an organized atheist community… at least not that I know of.  That’s one thing I’d love to see discussed at secualr conventions… how to start up a group!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=541546978 Elly Phillips

    I’d like to find something I could do with my nearly 4 year old (obviously not too strenuous) to introduce him to the idea of philanthropy (we’re in the SF Bay Area if there’s anyone else around here)

    • http://twitter.com/aynsavoy Anne Sauer

      Elly, there are a bunch of atheist/freethought groups around the Bay Area; a little hunting around on google should help you find the closest one. I bet they’d be interested in participating! 

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      One of my favorite local charities is Family Giving Tree. They run a back-to-school drive and a holiday drive, and I know they’re happy to have children help volunteer.

      http://www.familygivingtree.org

  • BeingUgly ClosesDoors

    Ooooh, a second job! And with no pay to boot? Where can I sign up?

    • Amy

      Obviously you fail to see the point of ‘volunteering’. With that kind of attitude we may as well not even have charities.

      • Being Ugly Closes Doors

        Being charitable makes sense for some people, but no one wants to admit that it only makes sense for a narrow range of people. The way I figure it, if you’re beautiful (a 9 or 10), you can only put in 1% and you’ll still get back 90%. If you’re ugly (a 2 or 3), you can put in 90% and you’ll only get back 1%. But if you’re average looking (around  a 5), you can get back about what you put in. So really, charity only make sense if you’re average looking or better. If no one’s going to be charitable to you on account of how you look no matter what kind of person you are, going out of your way to help others is just being a sap.

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com AndrewF

     There’s no reason our charitable output can’t match that of any church’s.

    Doesn’t doing it out of competition kind of take away some of the actual charitable-ness? I mean, “I’m more altruistic than you” doesn’t really seem to work.. why not just get on with it, encourage people to help others and leave the world a better place etc. without the whole ‘we’ll show them christians’ bit? 

    Just sayin’

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1535286477 Roxane Farrell Murray

    Figures.  Something cool like this gets going in Indianapolis a year and half after I move out.

  • Arielsworld

    Cool! The Oklahoma Atheists volunteer at a local food bank once a month. It is really nice to have a local group that provides the volunteer and social opportunities of church groups, but isn’t a church.  Maybe I should start a choir…

  • http://twitter.com/volunteersbb VolsBeyondBelief!

    This is Noelle George, the VBB Program Coordinator.  We just opened up a new application cycle and are accepting applications.  Please visit us at http://www.foundationbeyondbelief.org/vbb to find out how to apply. 


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