How do you find ways to contribute and volunteer to benefit non-religion based charities?
I have a weekly commitment volunteering with SMART Recovery, a non-12 step secular addiction recovery support group (www.smartrecovery.org ) I am active in our local chapter of the American Humanist Ass’n. I also volunteer from tine to time with Planned Parenthood.
I give time, energy and money to numerous groups. FFRF (after-life member), the Humanists, Engender Health - [engenderhealth.org] Planned Parenthood, the local BLM/San Juan Islands National Monument - [blm.gov], The Brights, Nature Conservancy (Legacy member), PBS/NPR, Gun Control groups, some local groups as the Friends of the San Juans - [sanjuans.org], Friends of the Lopez Library - [lopezlibrary.org], to name a few.
When I had my poodle, I used to volunteer with Pets on Wheels. We visited nursing homes and libraries. I have missed it since Lucy died. My current dogs are not good candidates for being therapy dogs (they need therapy). I joined a few local meetups who volunteer and I plan on doing something in the summer. That is really one of the few good things I took with me when I left the Catholic church. I grew up doing lots of service work and I have always loved it.
I used to volunteer for a program with my local CMH (Community Mental Health). I loved it, I was a community support for several people who didn't have strong family ties and were not great at making social contacts. It is kind of like Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I also was on a monitoring committee.
You may also want to check into volunteering at schools, food banks, senior centers, hospitals and animal shelters.
I created and facilitate a Job Search group that meets at the public library a few times a month, in the evenings. Invited guests talk on a variety of topics related to finding a job or career advancement. Everyone is welcome and it's completely free. The the speakers are all volunteers. Just finished up 3 years and starting to organize (and expand) for when we start up again in the fall. I have an awesome library liaison who helps immeasurably and I've found another volunteer facilitator to help out too!
Admittedly it's not a charity, but it's community out reach and I'm helping people. Some of those people are in dark places and the group offers more than just job search tips; it gets them out and interacting with others who know what they are going through. It lets them know that they are not alone.
Good question. Most religious based charities are powered by armies of unpaid volunteers, whilst exists at the very top, a layer of overpaid fat cats.
Ultimately, charity is not the answer. And I sometimes wonder if it is actually harmful.
Just the existence of food banks and soup kitchens reinforces a negative, toxic cultural stereotype. It frames the poor and the working class as being innately feckless and closer to live stock.
Give them money instead so that they can buy their own food. Or at least set up non-profit shops so people can buy their own food at a discount price and enjoy some autonomy and self respect in the process.
This self righteous gratitude fest is one reason I despise religion. It also prevents politically solutions, which is ultimately what's needed.
How I would love to see our rulers and politicians beg at a food bank.
I don't often give financially to charities, mostly because I think giving directly to someone in need does more good, but I do volunteer in secular organizations. In the last year I've started mediating for the local resolution center through the NYS unified court system. I may also start volunteering in the coming months for a local chapter of Literacy Volunteers if it looks like I have time to do so.
Here's a list of secular charities if you're inclined to donate money or time: [freethoughtpedia.com]
We give to a number of charities, like Doctors Without Borders.
I have limited time and energy and resources and there are an overwhelming number of needs, especially in the age of Trump. It tends to shut me down.
We poured a lot of effort into the Sanders campaign in '16 which hasn't been typical of us. We're the sort, historically, that votes and that's about it. He lost, and we have what we have. I can't stand to watch the news anymore; I'm getting old; I shot my wad in '16. I've put out a yard sign for a congressional candidate of my choosing, we're voting in the mid-terms, and that's going to have to suffice for now. The hue and cry of long-haul political activism isn't for us at this point in our lives.
There is one thing that will activate us and that's tipping-point issues. If Trump tries to fire Mueller or Rosenstein for example, that would motivate us to participate in some protests. I think in general people have to feel that it might make a fairly proximal difference, and like us, they hold back waiting for those opportunities to use their limited time and energy. I don't think we're unique in that regard.
If I were younger and healthier I would probably pick one particular cause like addressing voter suppression or mass incarceration, or universal health care, and devote some sustained effort to it
In the meantime, all I know is that today is like every other day of my life: to get what needs to get done, done; to have quality time with family; to get enough sleep; rinse and repeat along with all the prosaic things one has to do just to function in the world (shit, shower and shave, as my brother likes to put it). Saving the world just doesn't come very far up the list.
I donate to Goodwill in the form of items. Then the plethora of environmental organizations get my money. Defenders of Wildlife, Nature Conservancy, Orangutan Outreach, Dian Fossey Gorilla Foundation, Bat Conservation International, Environmental Defence Fund, World Wildlife Fund, Xerce Society, Greenpeace. I adopt black cats & dogs. I rescue a breed specific.
With great difficulty.
Bad day, I volunteer for a secular organisation that has many religious volunteers. No great problem normally. This morning I set up the Church run food bank on our premises as normal. Then got caught in a discussion with a non believer who accused me of being a fascist. He says all agnostics and atheists are because we support science.
Things have really changed here though, we no longer assume people are believers, there is seldom the expectation in my circles that one has a religion.
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