Columbus CoR has been tracking selected charitable activities from some of our groups to highlight examples of charity done by non-theists because many people seem to be unaware of it. Note that Columbus CoR groups accomplish far more than is mentioned here; some groups discuss charitable activities on their web sites while some are involved with Foundation Beyond Belief (which documents such things on their web site).
Adaptive Sports Connection
The Adaptive Sports Connection (ASC), a chapter of Disabled Sports USA, “empowers children, adults, and veterans with physical and cognitive challenges through sports and therapeutic outdoor recreation.” Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) is helping ASC in their cycling, kayaking, sailing and downhill winter sports programs.
ASC maintains a substantial 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 2.5 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. When there are not enough lessons scheduled, volunteers attend clinics to broaden/deepen their training.
ASC has a fleet of adaptive hand cycles, tandems, 3 wheelers as well as bicycles at Glacier Ridge Metro Park. Buddy riders help select and adjust cycles and helmets and are paired with participants as they ride the 4 mile trail in the park.
The ASC Adventure Center is located on inlets of the Scioto River and has a large collection of single and tandem kayaks (~90), paddleboards and sailboats. Volunteers help select and fit kayaks, life jackets and paddles along with what ever adaptive accessories are appropriate, provide basic instruction, launch and retrieve boats and accompany participants during 2-3 hour lessons. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, some COUNT members have continued to volunteer at a revamped program called Get Out And Kayak, re-designed for safety and social distancing.
14 COUNT members have participated in 73 ASC Cycling, Winter Sports, Kayaking and/or Sailing events, contributing 511 hours from August 2018 to September 1, 2020.
Adopt A Highway
The Ohio Department of Transportation arranges highway cleanup using the Adopt A Highway program. Various area secular groups have participated over the years including The Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) and Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT). Mid Ohio Atheists has been holding cleanup events to maintain a section of highway which sports a sign indicating their sponsorship and their Gold Star status. In 2019, HCCO and COUNT shifted their highway cleanups to a new site – the route 270 and Cleveland Ave interchange. Two 2019 cleanup events were held involving 12 volunteers who spent 37.5 hours filling about 20 bags in total.
Community Shelter Board/Van Buren Dr Homeless Shelter
The Van Buren Drive homeless shelter in Columbus is run by the Community Shelter Board, the YMCA and other agencies and supports hundreds of Central Ohio’s homeless men, women, and children. Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) is serving meals there monthly and invites any interested Columbus CoR member groups to participate. The Humanist Community of Central Ohio has jointly participated in all 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 events. Omnipresent Atheists welcomes shelter workers at their meetings after each Tuesday night volunteer event. The Secular Student Alliance at The Ohio State University participated in the April 2017 event. COUNT additionally worked with the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio on 4 Sundays in the Fall of 2018. 108 Columbus CoR volunteers worked 1183 hours in 68 events with the CSB through mid-August 2020. 18 have worked there at least five times and have been designated as “Handful” volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Shop or donate gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances at The Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Volunteers are needed to organize donated materials. Six volunteers from the Secular Student Alliance at The Ohio State University worked a total of 27 hours on 9/30/2017.
Harmony House provides shelter to homeless families in the Mansfield area. Mid Ohio Atheists collects donations routinely at their meetings and makes a special push at their annual picnic.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
The annual Light The Night walk benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The Humanist Community of Central Ohio worked with Foundation Beyond Belief to raise money for the 2012 walk. In 2013, this effort was expanded to include other Columbus CoR groups and $3207.46 was raised.
The Mid-Ohio Foodbank provides food to hungry Central Ohio families. Area secular groups collected food and raised money by holding a benefit in 2012. The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) Benefit Dinner is now an annual event. $1,884.04 was raised in 2012, $2,089.52 in 2013, $2,618.21 in 2014, $2,385.01 in 2015, $2,084.59 in 2016, $2,599.09 in 2017, $2,333.23 in 2018 and $2,018.12 in 2019. 125 lbs of food donations and $25 cash/gift certificates were collected at a 2014 COUNT Bowling Night. Columbus CoR has started holding Charity Fundraiser Happy Hour events with the first at Land Grant Brewing Company raising $150.00 on 1/11/2017 and the second at Seventh Son Brewing Company raising $220.00 on 3/8/2017. The third was held on 2/21/2018 at Land Grant Brewing Company and raised $51.76 and collected an estimated 72 lbs of food. A fourth was held at Seventh Son Brewing Company on 4/10/2019 where $64.00 was collected. A Day of Reason Potluck was held on 5/6/2017 at The Actual Brewing Company that raised another $50.00 as did a similar event held on 5/5/2018. An additional $30.00 and 20 lbs of food were collected at a 2017 Atheist Reunion & Revival. Columbus CoR groups have collected more than 1,954 lbs of food and a total of $18,610.81 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank from 2012 – November 2019.
The Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) held Bleed-N-Feed events from 2009 – 2016 to encourage blood donation at the Red Cross. These events expanded in 2017 to include Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) and other Columbus CoR members. Donation is often followed by a social event at a local pub/restaurant. Former Coordinator Lyz Liddell estimates that 175-200 units were donated as part of this effort from late 2009/early 2010 to Spring 2015. As of January 2017, events are scheduled for Third Thursdays in January, March, May, July, September and November on HCCO and COUNT meetup accounts. 23 Columbus CoR members spent 165 hours donating 151 units of whole blood, red blood cells, plasma or platelets for Bleed-N-Feed events from January 2017 through July 2020.
Ronald McDonald House
The Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Columbus provides a place to stay for families with children being treated at Nationwide Childrens Hospital, OSU Wexner Medical Center and other Franklin county hospitals. It is the largest RMH in the world and is funded and operated entirely by the local community. The Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) collected science books on Darwin Day in 2013 and donated them to RMH. COUNT volunteers crocheted 63 hats that were donated to RMH in November 2017, 105 hats in October 2018, 120 hats in November 2019 and made 8 no-sew blankets and donated in February 2018. Members of Columbus CoR groups volunteer via COUNT to serve as Housewarmers, restocking “hotel” rooms and otherwise assisting guests. Twenty-one non-theists have worked 1,632 hours there from the start of our involvement with RMH in 2013 through the end of September 2020 (including every month of the 2020 quarantine).