Approaching this recap a little differently to share some more about those who run Austin Humanists at Work. I have added a few links in this blog post to give you some background on where we came from and how we have modified due to current events. You may have seen me on here before, my name is Virginia and I am a founding member and Board President of Austin Humanists at Work and have been with the organization since 2014 before our name change. Our mission is to uphold the values of humanism by assisting people in need in the Austin community. Before the pandemic, we handed out basic living needs like shampoo, toothbrushes, insect repellent, underwear… to those who lived around the under-bridge parking lot across from Austin Police Department Headquarters in Central Austin. We gave the items individually in baskets to give folks coming through our line the power to choose what the wanted instead of premade kits. The giveaways brought on average 30 – 50 volunteers and we served 150- 200 people each month. This year, COVID-19 has brought a series to of challenges to the world, and our organization was not immune. While community togetherness has been altered by current events, it hasn’t lessened in the slightest. Now more than ever, area agencies, organizations, and communities are doing all we can to come together and share our resources to help all who need it most.
Since September Austin Humanists at Work has been working to help the Eat Apart Together initiative distribute food to those experiencing homelessness all over Travis County. EAT bag team members have delivered over 900- 15 pound bags of food and gallon jugs of water to folks up I35 and also providing tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, blankets, masks, toiletries, clothing, medical supplies, and have met some pretty wonderful people in the process. Not only do we provide basic living needs, but we are working to help bridge the gap for area services and those having a harder time accessing them.
In early 2020, wanting to resume giveaways after a three month hiatus, modified how we operate monthly. This past month we packed 200 personal care bags that also include socks and some grab & go food and handed them out to 200 folks at our usual giveaway location and at the Terrazzas Branch Austin Library. Starting in September, collecting and distributing until February 2021, we handed out Winter Warmth Drive items in hopes to help those living outside stay warm this winter. This past giveaway only brought 4 volunteers and donors help keep our giveaways going. I happen to be one of those volunteers and had to keep working in lieu of taking pictures but I at least I snagged one of the bag making crew.
Our organization thanks all who have helped keep our efforts going. Those who have volunteered with EAT bags, and giveaways are truly passionate about helping our communities. Thanking Masks in Austin once again for their donation of 30 masks each month. Our donors have also been integral in providing much needed monies and resources that have packed 1200 personal care bags and 13 jam packed Jeep/ trailers full of items that have been distributed in Central and North Austin areas.
If you want to help our organization here are some things we are working on for December:
- December 1st, 2020- Giving Tuesday: we will be posting a blog about this shortly but if you would like to help us with our goal of $1000, we started a Facebook Fundraiser but if you’re not on Facebook feel free to donate through our Paypal Giving Fund link.
- Now until February Giveaway of 2021- Winter Warmth Drive: ATXHAW is asking for specific clothing items in clean new or gently used condition to keep members of our community experiencing homelessness warm: sweaters, jackets/ coats/ (water-resistant), hoodies, pullovers, jeans/ sweat pants, thermal underwear, socks, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves
- For distribution at our December 27th Giveaway- Just Because Bags: <— Clicking on the link will tell you more, “From time to time we run a “Just Because Bags” drive to give a little extra back to the community to show we’re thinking of them. “Just Because Bags” are a great activity to do with children, scouting troops, or as a community activity….”
- Our next giveaway is December 27th and welcome a limited group of volunteers, 16+ years of age and older, to help distribute personal care bags, and warm winter items in Central Austin. Please email email@example.com for more information.