Award-Winning Service!

Thank you to everyone who came out for our June 14 giveaway.  We served 151 people, nearly triple the turnout from last month (which was low because of the storm).

Our friends from St. Andrews joined us again this month to lend a hand (thank you!), and we received a generous donation of 144 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from the Springwood Service Unit, Troop 1113.

For anyone that would like to support our efforts, we have become critically low in our supplies of our most popular items.  If anyone is able to contribute, it is certainly appreciated.

Because of your great work, we have won the 2014 Foundation Beyond Belief Heart of Humanism award!
1.  Eat. Sleep. Volunteer. Repeat. Award for Most Volunteer Events in 2014 (40 events) and $100 grant: Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless
2.  Gimme Food and Shelter for most poverty/hunger-related events in 2014 and $50 grant: Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless
3.  Most Valuable Volunteer 2014, based on nominations for their phenomenal service enabling their teams’ service activities: awarded to both Angel Lugo of Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless,
4.  Teams with 500+ volunteer hours or 10+ events in 2014: Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless

We look forward to seeing all of you again on July 19th next month!

Erasing the Circles

by Timothy Flanagan
June 16, 2015

Have you ever thought about the circles that you draw around yourself?

It's one of the most common human behaviors, but I wonder how many people stop to think about it.  Consciously or not, we gravitate toward people most like ourselves: same gender, same skin pigment, same nation of origin, same beliefs or values, same hobbies, etc.  And this can be a positive thing, such as fans of a particular author gather to discuss their favorite book.

But history has shown us that this behavior can have very unfortunate consequences, also.

Whenever a circle is drawn around a particular group or identity, there are always people outside of it.  And some circles are drawn with such boldness, such conviction - that those outside it are vilified, shunned, "othered".  Such circles can become a prison of the mind, an echo chamber of group-think that may never be escaped.  Many circles set themselves as enemies of others, leading to all manner of tragedies: wars, genocide, racism, laws that favor one group over another, biased job hiring practices, and countless others.

What I am talking about is a lack of empathy.

Do you want a better world?  Then keep the borders of your circles "fuzzy", or as permeable as possible.  Find where you have made your own circle, and reach outside of it - embrace others who are not like you, and draw them in if you are able.  Perhaps with effort, you can expand your circle and identify with nearly everyone you meet.

And maybe one day we can erase our circles, and let our identity be humanity itself.


Items Needed for the June 14th Giveaway!

Hello everyone! We're busy preparing for another giveaway on June 14th. If you've been stuck inside during the rain & doing some spring cleaning, we'd be happy to take some things off your hands! We collect a variety of items, and it's easy to schedule a pick up. Please email our donations coordinator at atxahhdonations@gmail.com or use the web email form on our Contact page. She will be happy to arrange a pick up day & time that works with your schedule. Or you can bring them to the next giveawayIf you're one of the lucky ducks that has already finished spring cleaning, check out our Amazon wish list. Just a few clicks can send your donation straight to us!

Here's our traffic light shopping guide for this month's giveaway:

RED LIGHT (we don't need more of these right now):
Notepads & pens
Feminine hygiene products (pads, tampons, pantiliners)
Soap/body wash
Women's underwear

YELLOW LIGHT (we probably have enough to make it through this giveaway, but a few more wouldn't hurt):
Hand sanitizer
Nail files/clippers
Men's & women's socks

GREEN LIGHT (we really need these items!):
Dental kits/supplies (travel toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss)
First aid kits/supplies
*Bug spray/wipes
*Emergency blankets
Toilet paper
Men's underwear

* means we are completely out of these items.

We would love to get your plastic bags! We go through a lot of them at the giveaway, but we'd like some extras to make plarn. Plarn is plastic yarn that can be made out of strips of plastic bags. The ATXAHH Gettin' Knotty group is planning to crochet the plarn into sleeping mats that are soft, durable, & water resistant, which is especially important for the people who sleep outdoors/on the ground.
We ask that the bags not have a lot of holes in the sides, since that is the part that's used for the plarn. Holes in the bottoms of the bags are OK, since they are not used.

If you'd like to learn more about our group, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope everyone is safe & sound after the flooding here in central Texas. See you next weekend!