COUNT named Beyond Belief Network June Team of the Month…

… having completed one year with Ronald McDonald House

Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) helps Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of Columbus provide housing and meals to needy families with children hospitalized in Franklin County hospitals. Science book collection on Darwin Day in 2013 led by Barb Chester started the relationship with RMH. Several members toured the facility to deliver donated books and became interested in expanding our activity there. Dave Nohle investigated Housewarmer volunteering starting in May, 2013 and a group of members attended orientation in June. COUNT members have worked every month since adding more participants along the way (including CJ, Joe, Dan, Brian, Gail, Michael, Phil and Amadeus) and accumulating 265.5 hours as of April 30.

RMH is poised to open a newly constructed wing adding 42 rooms to the existing 80 to make it the largest such facility in the country and COUNT continues to recruit for monthly volunteering.

Beyond Belief Network (BBN) is an offshoot of the Foundation Beyond Belief, a "non-profit charitable foundation created to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanistic generosity." [foundationbeyondbelief.org] BBN teams report charitable events to the BBN office so that non-theist/humanist efforts are made more visible. There are three teams in Columbus (Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) and Secular Student Alliance at The Ohio State University (SSA at OSU) as well as COUNT) and 84 nationwide including Freethought Dayton, the BBN May Team of the Month.

"We selected COUNT to be the June Team of the Month for Beyond Belief Network! Congratulations and thank you for your service!" Brittany Shoots-Reinhard, Beyond Belief Network Coordinator, Foundation Beyond Belief, www.foundationbeyondbelief.org

While working at RMH has represented more than half of the volunteer hours reported to BBN, COUNT has been involved in several other charitable activities reported to BBN since COUNT was founded in late 2012.

Adopt A Highway was initiated and run by Matt Shannon in 2012/3. COUNT members worked with HCCO members on the two mile stretch of 270 that sports a sign indicating that it is maintained by the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. Christina McDuffie is continuing the project for 2014 and has cleanup days scheduled this Sunday and in September.

COUNT joined the Columbus CoR Light the Night team in fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in October 2013. Brittany Shoots-Reinhard led the team in raising $3,247.06 to "punch cancer in the face!"

The 2nd Annual Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) Benefit Dinner topped 2012 results collecting 76 lbs of food and raising $2,089.52 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. 128 diners enjoyed the noodley goodness prepared by 34 volunteers from COUNT and 15 other Columbus CoR member groups. COUNT handled project management and post event activity, made jewelry for the silent auction and raffle, provided 9 volunteers at the event and had a great time doing it.

COUNT held two Week of Action events in April. COUNT worked with Atheists of Columbus (AoC) and HCCO to hold a Bowling Night Food Donation event collecting 125 lbs of food and $25 in cash/gift certificates for the Mid Ohio Foodbank. Thirteen attendees bowled and/or socialized while helping feed hungry Central Ohioans. COUNT participated in the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) Big Spring tree planting. Five COUNT volunteers joined numerous other FLOW volunteers at the Ohio School for the Deaf and planted hundreds of native Ohio trees and enjoyed a cookout after the work was done.

COUNT, HCCO, AoC and SSA at OSU are members of Columbus CoR and Freethought Dayton is a Friend of Columbus CoR.