Tag Archives: holiday

Holidays & Happiness, Humanist Style

beholiday

BE Present: Mindfulness is about connecting to the world and others around us, and connecting that awareness to our thoughts, words, and actions.

BE. Orlando celebrates the holiday season by hosting events and drives that make a difference in our community.  Investing our time and talent to have a positive impact on the world around us honors our commitment as Humanists; we recognize each individual’s connection to others and empowerment to do good.

I was asked recently why a secular organization would focus so much energy on giving to Christmas drives and supporting holiday activities. The holiday season is a time of increased economic and other stress, increased travel and accidents increasing need for blood – yet there’s a decrease in blood donorship, and a time when those without the means to provide for their families are more impacted than ever by heartbreaking challenges.

Inequities, tragedies, and other human struggles transcend faith or non-faith perspectives – they touch everyone. Parents may be unable to provide a holiday for their children in the tradition of their family. Those facing loss of family and loved ones, isolation, and fear for the future may feel that the greater community has forgotten them.  Those in need should never go a day without receiving a kind, uplifting word or deed.

Together, we can make a difference. A Humanist’s wish for a happy holiday season is communicated through our actions. This December, our members enjoyed creating and sharing a holiday meal at SafeHouse, donating blood, and collecting STEM-themed toys for local at-risk youth.

HOLIDAY MEAL AT SAFEHOUSE

BE. Orlando’s monthly dinner at SafeHouse of Seminole takes on a special meaning during the holidays.  For October, November, and December, we host super-special meals and share a meaningful evening with each other and with the residents of SafeHouse.

Serving to create an evening of joy for people who are facing challenges is an honor. And those challenges are not only among “others” – but also potentially a current or past part of the lives of volunteers and staff. We must remember that every face we see has a story that we do not know; at this event we join together, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to make a positive difference for everyone around us.

274029We brought a honey-baked ham, and the ten volunteers prepared homemade side-dish recipes that have been meaningful in their lives during the holidays to share with the SafeHouse residents.  The 17 unique dishes included whole-potato-sweet-potato casserole, green beans (from the family garden), apple & snickers salad, Spanish rice,  fresh field greens salad, anniversary potatoes (like potatoes au gratin), homemade mac & cheese, green bean casserole, steamed veggies, cheese, olive, & nut trays, and of course holiday cupcakes an peppermint brownies.

There was a grab-bag with toys for every child at the shelter (and grown-ups are kids, too!), and the volunteers dressed in festive attire of aprons & antlers.  There was singing, laughter, and a great feeling of community.

We are grateful to our members who contributed time, food, and supplies, to the Foundation Beyond Belief for a project grant that assisted with the December food costs, and to the staff and residents of SafeHouse for the opportunity.  We can’t wait wait for Taco Nite in January as we kick off our 5th year of hosting monthly dinners at SafeHouse!

See more photos on our Facebook album.

banner

BLOOD DRIVE

On 12/10 we joined with the Central Florida Freethought Community at Target in Oviedo and hosted a blood drive, raising 12 units.  Each unit can impact three lives – our donors gave the gift of another holiday, another hug, another sunrise to 36 people!

donors

TOY DRIVE

Throughout December at all of our events – including the toy collection & blood drive event on 12/10 at Target, BE. Orlando and the Central Florida Freethought Community together collected 68 STEM-themed toys and games and 65 books.

collage2016-toy-drive

Special thanks to Target in Oviedo for their support!

JOIN US – MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY!

If you are still looking for a way to give back this holiday season, consider making a donation to the Central Florida Freethought Community to support their programs and initiatives, or to the new scholarship fund promoting volunteerism among secular students at the University of Central Florida.

If you’re in Central Florida and interested in joining our 2017 volunteer adventures, membership to our event calendar, Meetup.com/BEOrlando, is free – we hope to meet you at an event soon!

Advertisements

What a great day!

Dec 11, 2016

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the blood drive & STEM toy drop off event yesterday!  The blood bus was full to capacity throughout the day, and the toy bins were almost full – thanks for taking the time to make a difference for people in our community.

Elfing Day – our day of delivering gifts to shelters – is Saturday, December 17th.  If you still want to donate, please contact us to arrange a drop-off point this week. Toys will benefit the gift drives for the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and SafeHouse of Seminole.

Special thanks to our great partner, the Central Florida Freethought Community, and to Target and OneBlood.

donors

collage

Blood Drive, STEM Toys, &…Wolves??

Blood Drive & STEM Toy Drive Drop-off
Saturday, December 10, 10 a.m – 3 p.m.
Target in Oviedo – 820 Oviedo Mall Boulevard
look for our tents in the parking lot by the Bloodmobile

We’re looking forward to a GREAT day on Saturday!  The weather will be perfect and we will be investing our day to help fill that Big Red Bus and save lives this holiday season as well as collecting STEM-themed toys for at-risk youth in our community.  Come say hello & meet leaders and members from BE. Orlando and the Central Florida Freethought Community.

Blood Donors will receive a Humanist Blood Donor canvas bag, a book donated by In Harmony With Nature, and a Fandango movie ticket from OneBlood!

Picture8We’re excited that one of the charities we have supported over the years will be joining us – In Harmony With Nature wolf and wolfdog refuge!  Come by and learn about this great organization and meet volunteers, leaders, and maybe a wolf ambassador! There will be some great wolfy items there that would make unique holiday gifts.

LINKS

logo-set

Blood Drive & STEM Toy Drive Drop-Off

Blood Drive & STEM Toy Drive Drop-Off
December 10th, 2016
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Target in Oviedo

Come say hello – BE. Orlando Humanist Fellowship and the Central Florida Freethought Community will be hosting tents and welcoming our members, friends, and anyone who would like to learn more about our groups & initiatives.

We’ll be accepting donations to the toy drive all day, and you can also get on the Big Red Bus and give the gift of life this holiday season!  Every toy will go to an at-risk child in our community, and every blood donation has the potential to save three lives.

Make a difference with us on December 10th – we look forward to seeing you there!

If you can’t make it on the 10th, don’t worry – we’re taking donations at all BE & CFFC events through December 16th, and we can even arrange a pick-up.  Visit stem4youth.wordpress.com for details or contact us.

LINKS

banner

Click for flyer

WHY?

STEM toys develop interest and skill in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and gives them a head start and advantage as they progress through their educational journey.  Not only do we use STEM skills in many aspects of our lives, but the best career paths are in STEM fields – and we need great people educated to fill them in the future.  Toy drives bring in many kinds of gifts, but there is a shortage of drives focusing on STEM-related gifts that can spark a young person’s interest – and perhaps influence their future. Please join us in this effort to make a difference for at-risk youth in our community!

dec-icon

 

2015 Holiday Gift Drive

banner


Update 12/25/15, Follow-up on our success:  THANK YOU to everyone who donated items to support this drive. Donations included 65 STEM-related toys, 44 books, and jewelry, clothing, and toiletries & supplies as well.  The toys were items like a Smithsonian microscope kit, solar model cars, robot build kits, art kits, a physics lab for kids project kit, science games, a robot puppy, and more.  We’re looking forward to hosting the STEM Toy Drive for 2016 –


 

FINAL DAY:  December 19th, 2015

Click here for a flyer to share

Click here for a flyer to share

Let’s show our generous spirit and our dedication to inspiring youth interest in STEM disciplines by providing a variety of math and science toys and books. 

Bring items to any BE. event through December 19th or host drives in your Meetup groups, families, and workplaces.

Items must be NEW and unwrapped.  Donations will go to homeless and domestic violence shelters in Central Florida.

Contact BEOrlando@live.com to arrange pick-ups (Orlando area only) or drop off at any BE. Orlando event.

correct-social-icons (2)Share on Facebook

Shopping & Ideas for STEM-themed gifts

New links updated 12/6/15

TAMPA CHAPTER – COLORING BOOK DRIVE

Our Tampa chapter is collecting coloring books and crayons to support the child and family room at a Tampa addition treatment facility.  Join us and the Tampa coordinator for lunch here in Orlando to drop off contributions on December 13th.  Please RSVP on Meetup.com/BEOrlando or contact BEOrlando@live.com for Tampa drop-off or other information.

gift