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A story from Ken about atheists doing good deeds...
May of 2009, FLASH member Matt Kirsch had an idea to make packages with food, toiletries and lists of clinics and shelters in the area. He brought them to socials and gave them to members to carry with them and hand out to someone needy. It's a very good gesture and I informally named it "two hands working" from the Ben Franklin Quote "two hands working do more than a million clasped in prayer".
This week we had very low temperatures for South Florida (35 degrees). Being South Florida, we are not used to cold and the homeless find open areas to bed down, mostly without any shielding from the elements. The shelters fill up fast here in cool weather and with a cold front bearing down on us, FLASH made a plea on Facebook for donations to buy blankets, sleeping bags, socks and food. In less than 24 hours we had $340. Sports authority made us a great deal and I bought all the polar fleece blankets they had (30) and from thrift stores we found sleeping bags, blankets and coats, We also bought packages of socks and gloves. We added some food to hand out a meal with each set-up. We had enough stuff to help 45 people.
Three of our members, Jarek Loovali, Susan Stoff and Ray Loukinen volunteered to look for people that did not get into the shelters. Unfortunately, they weren't that hard to find. I would have much rather they brought the stuff back because there were enough shelters. But they found them, many with very little to keep warm. The people were very grateful and appreciative. It was also very good for these volunteers. It is hard to do good for another and not feel good yourself. Ray Loukinen said "We only had about six "god bless you"s , I explained that "we are atheists, but what's important is that you don't freeze tonight"
FLASH members want to expand our efforts and we will field new ideas. While it is not our mission to cure homelessness, poverty and other social ills, we are humanists and can't resist the needs of others. FLASH also donates equipment and supplies to local schools in lower income areas. Our purposes are state/ /church issues, religion in schools, public image of non-believers and forming communities for them. Performing random acts of kindness is an idea that many atheists around the world support.
Raising money is always tough, many times I rely on "begging" FLASH member's to support these efforts. I realize that homelessness is everywhere but if you can help other south Floridians become aware of our efforts, that would be a great plus. Also, FLASH likes to meet atheists from everywhere, so if you are visiting here, please contact us and attend one of our socials... it's fun.
donations to local schools -
To donate to flash use the paypal "donate" button at the bottom of this page http://www.freethoughtflorida.com/join.html
Submitted by RationalRespons... on Tue, 2011-04-05 20:11.