Camp Sunshine polar dip

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I’ve been participating in a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, a sort of retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses. I did this as part of my group Atheists of Maine; we raised more than any other group, coming in at $2,169 (though donations are still being accepted). To commemorate the experience, all the participants did a polar dip in Portland (no, not the hipster, faux Portland in Oregon) this past weekend. My GPS brought me to the wrong place, so I unfortunately missed the main event by literally minutes. Of course, that wasn’t going to stop me from following-through on my promise to do something stupid:

AoM Polar Dip

Take a stroll on over to the AoM Facebook page to see a few more pictures.

Atheists of Maine fundraiser for Camp Sunshine

I’ve mentioned from time to time the fundraiser I’ve been doing on behalf of Atheists of Maine, a group I help run. Well, it looks like we’ve exceeded our goal by quite a bit – $600 – and we’re easily number 1 amongst the other teams doing the polar dip in Portland this Saturday. I hope we see a few more dollars roll in before the fundraiser closes on March 31st.

But speaking of late March, AoM will be doing a Hug-An-Atheist booth at Easy Street Lounge in Hallowell on March 30th. It’s no coincidence that this will be the night before Easter; we’re hoping that maybe we can rustle up a little more activity this way so that we’ll have all the more funds raised to donate to a local animal shelter. If you’re in the area, come on down.

Camp Sunshine

One of the things we’re doing with Atheists of Maine is a fundraiser and subsequent polar dip for Camp Sunshine. Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist wrote about us:

The Atheists of Maine are trying to raise money for a truly worthy cause: Camp Sunshine, “a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.”

Right now, the atheists are the top fundraising group for the cause, but there’s a long way to go for the camp to raise the $30,000 it needs. So if you have the ability to help out, please donate to group members Ryan Dalessandro or Michael Hawkins.

There are other group members, but I think it’s clear that anyone who wants to donate should donate to my page specifically. Why? Because this is my blog, that’s why.

We’re ultimately hoping to find a church group to compete with us for position of top donor, so if any Maine-based group is interested, let us know.

Atheists of Maine Thanksgiving charity work

I recently mentioned my radio interview about the charity work my group Atheists of Maine did up in Brewer this past weekend. We had a decent turnout and we did some decent work, but I think I was most struck by how much having a group like this meant to some of the people there. What we did packing Thanksgiving baskets made a small difference, I’m sure, but I think our mere organization and existence may have had a bigger impact than anything.

Atheists of Maine volunteer effort

Everything that follows is from Atheists of Maine:

We’ve been talking about making an effort to get Atheists of Maine involved with a charity this Thanksgiving. We want to do something hands-on that will enable us to do some good while also showing people that atheists are good without God. We were open to a number of possibilities, including teaming up with religious organizations, but as of today we have found our charity: . Here’s their mission statement:

Food AND Medicine’s mission is to organize, educate, and empower workers and our communities in the fight for economic and social justice. Food AND Medicine believes that by working together with unions, farmers, community groups, small businesses, and faith-based organizations we will create solutions and positive change.

Right now they’re looking to put together 1000 meals at $30 a piece. As it so happens, one of our members has generously offered to put $1,000 towards the charity we help, so that means Food AND Medicine will be able to put together about another 33 meals to feed another 33 families.

Stuff like this makes a big difference.

In addition to the monetary donation being made in the name of Atheists of Maine, our members will be volunteering time this Sunday (and potentially other days) to put these baskets together and help make this whole show work. If interested – atheist or not – let us know! The more help, the better.

Location and Time

Food AND Medicine is located at Solidarity Center, 20 Ivers Street, Brewer, ME 04412 and they need help over the course of a number of days. For Atheists of Maine, we will be helping this Sunday, November 18. For those who can’t make that date but still want to help, here is a copy and paste from an email we received earlier today:

Sort Preparation– Tuesday November 13th – Thursday November 15th
Times: 10am – 5pm each day
Location: 20 Ivers St (Solidarity Center)
Projects: washing and sorting produce, preparing bags, sorting stuffing, setting up for weekend sort

SORTING DAYS! – Friday November 16th – Monday November 19th
Times: 8am – 6pm each day. Our biggest needs are all day Friday and Saturday in the morning
Location: 20 Ivers St (Solidarity Center)
Projects: carrying produce to hall from basement, helping sort produce, carrying full bags back to basement, helping load trucks

Final truck and clean up — Tuesday November 20th
Times: 8am – 10am
Location: 20 Ivers St (Solidarity Center)
Project: Loading final 150 baskets onto semi truck, help with Solidarity Center clean up

Again, Atheists of Maine will be helping this Sunday. Any time between 8:00am and 6:00pm is fine, and we’ll update our Facebook page as to when Michael, Ryan, and/or Will (the AoM co-leaders) plan on getting there.

Thank you, Mountain House

In my recent post about my upcoming trip to Haiti I mentioned that I planned on purchasing Mountain House meals. I used these for a trip I did nearly 3 years ago over part of the Appalachian Trail known as the 100 Mile Wilderness. It was a grueling hike that took over 8 days and required everyone involved to lug in a lot of weight; we probably started with 45 pounds each, trekking over some of the most difficult terrain the AT has to offer. The Mountain House meals made things much easier than they otherwise would have been. We saved space and weight, plus they were extremely easy to prepare (boil water, dump boiling water in pouch, wait, eat). I have to imagine they will be a big help for us in Haiti, especially considering the fact that we specifically have space and weight concerns.

With my past trip in mind, I sent off an email to Mountain House. I gave them the details on what I will be doing and asked if they would be willing to make a donation. As I said in my email, I plan on buying the meals whether or not the company can help us out, but I let them know anything they could do would be hugely appreciated. To my delight (and, in March, to the delight of a number of Haitians), they offered to match whatever I purchased up to 20 items. That constitutes a donation of approximately 40 meals (each pouch is two servings). This is going to make a positive impact all around. Not only will we have more food to share with our hosts, but we will have more space for carrying in other supplies such as crayons, pencils, clothes, and more.

In addition to thanking Mountain House here on FTSOS, I have also thanked them on the Facebook page for the trip. Only a few students have “liked” the page so far (I recently created it), but it would be good for anyone to like it. I plan on utilizing it to get information out there on how to donate, including updates on bidding in an online auction of various items. (The auction is meant to bring in money we will be directly giving to Casale.)

So again, thank you to Mountain House and don’t forget to like our Facebook page.