People Need Help All Year. SHoWLE Wants To Get There

One of the things that SHoWLE does, that I would like to see do, is assist the community where we live. One project we completed for the second year was adopting a family through Lucas County Children Services for Christmas. Of course the question that get asks is why only at Christmas when families need help all year round? Why copy what other faith groups do? Those are valid questions and I’ll explain our philosophy about community projects.

Douglas Berger – President of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie

I am totally with those who complain about copying religious groups and pulling out the volunteering/donation machine only during the holiday season. I think only limiting such action to the holidays plays into the religious narrative that help is only needed during one time of the year so we feel better about not helping at other times.

The other consideration for year end donating is taxes. People who are able to deduct donations may want to wait until the end of the year to get their full return on the tax forms the next year.

Some non-profits also use the holiday season to raise awareness and donations about their cause during a time of the year when people are thinking about donating time, money, or things to those who are struggling.

The only obstacle to SHoWLE helping a family all year is we would need to have a group of members committed to helping all year. It would not be something to be thrown together at the last minute IF we have time. There will be times such an endeavor will be a grind and someone might not be “feeling it” that particular time or date. I know from past experience with the group I was part of in Columbus that even if you have five or six people saying they will help eventually it is left to one of two people to do all the work.

I won’t commit SHoWLE to a year long effort without knowing we have a solid commitment from volunteers to pull it off. I don’t want to see us commit to something and either fail to do it or do it half way. That would make us look bad in the community and might hurt future chances to work with other groups on other projects.

I just don’t think SHoWLE is big enough to sustain a year long effort to help a family at this time but we do have the capacity to participate in the limited holiday program through Lucas County although I did reduce the size of the family we helped from 3 people to two, this year, just so as not to stretch us too far.

SHoWLE will also try to help others if an emergency comes up. Last Christmas we were able to help a family that had been suddenly dropped by a company that had “adopted” them as part of their year end “giving back” to the community that many companies do on the holidays. We were able to pull together some extra resources so that family didn’t miss out because a company heartlessly changed it’s mind.

I am always open to new ideas. If someone is enthusiastic about some project and they pretty much do the leg work to get it setup and coordinate it then I am willing to try it and promote it to the rest of the group.

We’ve Adopted A Family For The Holidays

This year SHoWLE has been given a family to sponsor for the holidays through Lucas County Children’s Services. We will be helping out a 4 year old named DJ and his father Derrick.

If you would like to purchase a gift to donate just check out the needs and wants for the child and father and let Bev know what you plan to purchase so we can avoid duplication. (send her an email at bevzilla@yahoo.com)

Bev will also be hosting a wrap party at her house on Saturday December 12 at 1 PM to wrap the gifts in a socially distant and safe manner. If you can donate wrapping paper or ribbon that would be appreciated. Please contact Bev for more information on the party.

Having A Blast At Skepticon

This weekend I am attending Skepticon 11 in St. Louis, MO with Shawn and Peggy. Skepticon is a free convention for seculars and skeptics.

Shawn and I are having a good time, meeting new people, getting new ideas, and communing with people who have similar world views as we do.

I’ve learned how to make an awesome podcast and how to persuade people on issues I think are important. I also learned about the religious right’s effort to have special laws passed in state legislatures through their Project Blitz initiative. Did you know Ohio has a chapter of the Prayer Caucus? It lobbies state legislators in Columbus.

Shawn and I are bringing back meeting and event ideas for the coming year.

The only misstep to this year’s conference is it being scheduled during the 5th Anniversary of the death of Michael Brown. He was shot and killed by a white police officer just 10 miles away in Ferguson. Until one of the talks this evening, Skepticon made no effort to acknowledge the event. I hope they do better next time in making sure there are no conflicts like that or at least dedicate some time to marking those kinds of tragedies.

Shawn walked around the area where our hotel is located and mentioned to me she saw a lot of homeless people. It made me consider that a convention like Skepticon should include a community service project so participants experience life outside the hotel.

I do want to attend another Skepticon in the future. This type of convention is needed by people in our community.

Berger Spoke At Lights4Liberty Vigil

On Friday evening, July 12th, at Levis Square in downtown Toledo, the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) co-sponsored the Lights For Liberty vigil to End Human Concentration Camps.

Lights for Liberty partnered with international, national, regional and local communities and organizations who believe that human rights are fundamental rights, are not negotiable, and are willing to protect them.

President Douglas Berger was one of several speakers, at the event in Levis square, who highlighted the human rights issue with the immigration detention camps setup around the country.

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