Food for Freethought - Colorado

Food for Freethought
Fighting hunger with reason

In the summer of 2009, Sara Diaz (President of UCD Atheists) and Joel (President of Metro State Atheists) attended the CFI Student Leadership Conference in Amherst, NY in late June. There, we were presented with the launch of CFI’s Campaign for Free Expression by Debbie Goddard and some ideas of events we could do during Banned Books week (September 28-October 3rd) as a part of the Campaign for Free Expression. Dramatically, we looked at each other with that “I know exactly what you’re thinking” look; “Why not do something that will improve our community and advance Freethought?” After some brief, low-volume, excited discussion between the two of us we decided upon giving out banned and Freethought books in exchange for non-perishable food donations to benefit a community food bank.

When we got back to Denver, we began work on the event right away by contacting Food Bank of the Rockies, a local food bank that did not have a problem working with an atheist organization. Then came the seemingly daunting task of acquiring the number of books needed to make the event successful. We started by sending out an email to our email list and messaging our members on our Facebook group. We got minimal response from that, a few books donated. A few weeks after beginning this search for book donations we received an email from Tanya Higgins of Boulder, CO who offered to create an wish list on behalf of our group for our cause. She set it up such that people could purchase books and they would be automatically shipped to Sara and Joel’s house, our “headquarters”. About a week later we received our first shipment of books, the sender/buyer was from Canada! From then on nearly every other day on average, we received books from all around the country, including our state of Colorado. The CFI and SSA (Secular Student Alliance) also helped by sending one, large box of freethought books.

We would like to thank all donors, both individuals and organizations, for their contribution. The event was also featured in a letter to the editor in Freethought Today, a publication produced by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, by local freethought activism Mike Smith.On the two days of the event, Sept.29th and Oct. 1st, we handed out books proportional to the size, backing of the book and the size of the monetary or non-perishable food donation. All monetary proceeds went directly to purchasing food. Though it is unknown how many books were given away (we still have about 15-20 left), we were able to donate to Food bank of the Rockies 252 items of food! The turnout and subsequent donations were a pleasant surprise to us. We learned a lot from this event for future incarnations of it. Given how successful it was, we will surely be doing it again come next fall!

Joel Guttormson is an undergraduate double majoring in Theoretical Mathematics and Linguistics at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Joel is also President of Metro State Atheists, and a member of the CFI On-Campus Publication and Activism Committees.
Sara Diaz is an undergraduate majoring in secondary education-English and minoring in philosophy at University of Colorado Denver, Downtown Campus. Sara is President of UCD Atheists.

Submitted by Sapient on Mon, 2009-10-26 01:03.