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 biking and downhill winter sports programs. One volunteer has participated in two Fall 2018 veteran cycling events and several assist with downhill ski and snowboard lessons.
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. 4 COUNT volunteers have worked 49.5 hours this season (as of end of January) divided between training, lessons with students and clinics.
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 and Central Ohio United Non-Theists. Most recently, 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.
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 and 2018 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. 86 participants from Columbus CoR groups have worked a total of 965 hours at 53 events held January, 2015 through January, 2018. 17 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 and $2,333.23 in 2018. 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 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 a total of 1,954 lbs of food and $16,580.45 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank from 2012 – November 2018.
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. 15 Columbus CoR volunteers spent 89 hours donating 78 units of whole blood, red blood cells, or platelets at 12 Bleed-N-Feed events since January 2017.
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 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 COUNT volunteers have worked a total of 1,295 hours from May 2013 through December 2018. 11 volunteers have worked at least a handful of four hour shifts.