COUNT has volunteered every month in 2020, despite the pandemic.
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) members worked at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House (RMH) every first Sunday of the month in 2020, despite the pandemic. Columbus CoR has held all 6 scheduled Red Cross donation events in 2020, involving COUNT and the Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO). COUNT and HCCO members worked at the Van Buren Center homeless shelter every month in 2020 except November when volunteers were not allowed onsite. COUNT members volunteered at Adaptive Sports Connection (ASC) in last season’s Winter Sports program and summer kayaking events and have started training for this season’s Winter Sports.
Columbus CoR member groups have suspended in-person social events for now. COUNT is handling each volunteer event on a case by case basis. Any held will meet requirements for social distancing and protective measures like wearing masks. For the Van Buren Center and Ronald McDonald House, COUNT involves only volunteers that know the building and practices involved because extra precautions are required. Likewise, COUNT advises anyone at increased risk due to underlying health issues (or living with someone who has increased risk) to avoid volunteering for now. Even events kept on the schedule may have abrupt changes; event hosts manage these as they arise.
Winter Solstice Banquet
The Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) will hold a Virtual Winter Solstice Banquet on December 12th and you can still RSVP.
“This year, HCCO is collecting holiday recipes from the community and turning them into a collective holiday cookbook. This is our version of a holiday potluck during a pandemic. To create the most authentic potluck experience, make one or more of the recipes from the cookbook on the day of the WSB. This way, we can still enjoy each others’ dishes together.”
Donations for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank are being collected at https://www.midohiofoodbank.org/hcco.
The next [Virtual] HCCO Monthly Meeting on January 9th will cover “Why Native American Sports Mascots Should Be Eliminated…Immediately”. Joshua Hunt, Vice Chair of the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity & Resistance, will present. On February 13th (Darwin Day) the topic will be “A Long Time Ago and Far Away: The Geologic History of Ohio!” Dale Gnidovec, Collections Manager and Curator of the Orton Geological Museum and Professor of Earth Sciences at OSU, will present.
“From tropical seas and steamy swamps to glaciers a mile high, join us on a 500-million-year journey across the land we call Ohio!”
Adaptive Sports Connection
ASC has incorporated distancing and other precautions similar to those successfully used for kayaking into the Winter Sports program to continue giving ski and snowboard lessons to people with disabilities. COUNT members will train at Snow Trails with ASC on December 19th and 26th. COUNT members will help with adaptive ski and snowboard lessons on each Saturday January 2nd – March 13th. Masks are required and a number of other precautions, like putting on gear at our cars instead of in buildings, have been arranged. 13 COUNT members have now worked over 500 volunteer hours in their first two years working with ASC.
Black Nonbelievers of Columbus, OH (BN CBUS) members will participate in the national group’s annual year end meeting on December 20th.
“2020 has been challenging year, and we hope everyone has been keeping safe. Our general meeting will be an end of year review, our look into 2021, and also gearing from you on how you have fared throughout the year.” Mandisa Thomas, Founder
Ronald McDonald House
COUNT members are scheduled to volunteer at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) on every 1st Sunday next year as they have since May 2013. Winter events are on January 3rd, February 7th and March 7th. RMH occupancy dropped to about 50% after elective procedures were curtailed last Winter and has remained at that level to date. “At this time, we prefer that no novice COUNT volunteers work at RMH. It is safer to involve only less-vulnerable volunteers that know the building and procedures because extra precautions are required.” Mike Bondoc, RMH program leader and event host.
Van Buren Center
Columbus CoR group members have continued to volunteer via COUNT on second Tuesdays at the Van Buren homeless shelter, when allowed, practicing social distancing and protective measures like wearing masks and gloves. Sometimes the shelter is having us process donations, portion out meals or prepare ingredients for the next day. Our COUNT event host, Andrew Whitacre, is scheduling 2nd Tuesdays as allowed but will limit novice volunteer participation for now. “It is safer to involve only less-vulnerable volunteers that know the shelter layout and can better assess risk.” COUNT volunteers are scheduled for January 12th, February 9th and March 9th. 108 Columbus CoR volunteers worked 1198.75 hours in 71 events at the Van Buren Center since January 2015.
Columbus CoR is again scheduled for 2021 Carriage Place Red Cross donation events held on third Thursdays in January, March, May, July, September and November. We currently wear masks and skip dining together (or even congregating at the Red Cross). We may donate at other locations on different days and members report the number of units and donation date for inclusion in our statistics and reports. 25 Columbus CoR members spent 121 hours donating 173 units for Bleed-N-Feed events since January 2017. “RSVP for the January 21st and/or March 18th COUNT event even if you might donate on a different day/time/location.” Dave Nohle, COUNT Steering Committee member and BNF program leader
BN CBUS, COUNT and HCCO are members of the Columbus Coalition of Reason.