It was one year ago (February 2014) that the Bay Area Humanists started the Volunteer group. And, it has been a successful year.
We started our year volunteering at the San Francisco Marin Food Bank, at the San Francisco location, one Wednesday a month. In the early months we averaged 2-4 persons at the event. It was a great way to help in our community and to build closer relationships with other volunteers. In the summer we got our BAH t-shirts. The lime green color with its “Happy Humanist” has brought immediate attention to our group, no matter the size. As we entered Fall our monthly number tended to be a steady 5-7 persons. Not bad for an afternoon, weekday timeslot. The Food Bank processes food to other agencies who collectively serve more than 100,00 meals per day!
In November we added a monthly shift at At The Crossroads, a nonprofit in the Mission that does on the street counseling for homeless youth. There we are part of the Prep Night, where we clean book bags and assemble goody bags and hygiene kits and fold new clothes for the clothes closet. Our volunteer hours free up the organization to put its efforts to direct services for their clients. This volunteer event fills up quickly and we have had to turn people away.
In February of this year BAH had enough interest to start its weekend volunteer shift at the Food Bank. We have had 5-7 volunteers for each of these shifts.
The volunteer events have been very successful on several points. It helps with meeting the needs of our community. It has helped those looking for an opportunity to serve with a secular group. And, it has given BAH members an opportunity to talk about Humanism in a neutral place. We have already started to see people who have come to the volunteer events showing up at other events. We will continue to expand our volunteer efforts as our participants voice their interests.