Posts Tagged ‘homelessness’

Holiday Food Drive 2012

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 | Foundation, Humanism

A massive thank you to everyone who contributed to the Humanist Action Group‘s 2012 Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters! Last Sunday saw the (almost) final day of what has been six nearly two months of hard work, planning, coordinating and executing the project and we’re pleased so that in total, we raised in-kind donations worth a brilliant…


The donations went to three local homeless shelters, two of which are direct access – this means that service users are able to turn up, often coming in just for a day or two to escape the cold – so being able to give out a box containing food and some warm clothing is invaluable to such organisations.

You can see all the photos from the event on our Flickr page.

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Today is the day

Sunday, December 16th, 2012 | Foundation


Today is the day! After six weeks of hard work, the Humanist Action Groups 2012 Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters ends today. We’ll be gathering everything together, boxing everything up, and delivering it to shelters throughout the day.

If you missed the deadline, you can still support our work by making a financial donation to the group. You can do this via Virgin Money Giving, or see our website.

Photos will be posted after the event – stay tuned.

HAG food drive guide

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 | Foundation, Humanism

In April last year, the Humanist Action group launched our first set of guides. These were the feed the homeless guide and the organiser’s guide, allowing you to start a Humanist Action Group in your town or city, and get started with a basic programme.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re launching our third guide – on running a food drive. This will take you through all the steps required to run your own food drive, similar to our Holiday Food Drive – though it can be at any time of year, and indeed for anyone who needs it.

The guide is available for free to anyone who would like a copy – if that is you, get in touch!

2012 Holiday Food Drive

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 | Foundation, Humanism

I’m very pleased to announce the launch of the Humanist Action Group’s 3rd annual Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters!

For the past few years, we have staged a food drive to bring some holiday cheer to those less fortunate. You can read all about last year’s event here and 2010’s event here. This year will be no exception, and we want to make it bigger and better than ever!

We need…

  • Food (that lasts)
  • Toiletries
  • Warm clothing, gloves, blankets, etc

You can also donate financially, allowing us to buy in bulk, and indeed donate your time too to help us collect more donations and reach more people. If you want to get involved – get in touch!

We also have a Facebook event up and running, and you can find out more on the website, including how to donate!

Gift of Gloves

Monday, March 12th, 2012 | Foundation, Humanism

Gift of Gloves

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to our Gift of Gloves project. We have now received and distributed many pairs of gloves, mittens and extra warm socks, all of which were gratefully received by their recipients.

Announcing the HAG 2011 Holiday Food Drive

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 | Foundation, News

Last year we launched and ran the Humanist Action Group‘s Holiday Food Drive.

Thanks to all your generous donations we were able to provide food parcels for three local homeless shelters. We managed a total of 24 boxes packed full of a variety of different kind of food either directly donated or bought with donations. It was a good start, but we think that this year we can do a lot better!

As with last year, we need your help in three ways. First of all, we need food. That is the main part of a food drive, so any food you can donate is great. Anything which will last for a few months or more is ideal. Secondly, we need time. We need people to help us collect everything together and package it up. Finally, any money donated will be used to buy more food in bulk from wholesalers to help us fill even more boxes.

If you think you can spare some time to help those less fortune this holiday season, then please do get in contact with us. You can also sign up on Facebook, or if you want to donate, you can do so via our page on Virgin Money Giving.

Together, we can make this a truly special holiday season. Which, to me, is what the holiday season is really all about.


NHS prescriptions

Monday, July 18th, 2011 | Humanism

Last Wednesday, I was out with the Humanist Action Group doing our usual feed the homeless bit, when we found a man who looked rather ill.

When we spoke to him, he said he was suffering from septicemia. He was clearly in a bad way, one foot was swollen so much you could see how much bigger it was than the other and he had some nasty holes in his legs which were slowly oozing puss. It really wasn’t something I enjoyed looking at.

When we asked him whether he had been to the hospital, he said yes and they had given him some antibiotics. However, they were about to run out and now he couldn’t afford any more.

Now, you would assume that a) he is clearly in need of medical treatment and b) he doesn’t have a job so doesn’t really have any means to pay for prescriptions, you would think that the supposed free healthcare system we operate in the UK, would provide.

But it doesn’t.

If you take a look at the NHS website, it explains that there are only a handful of exemptions to prescription charges and unless you’re on income support or income related job seekers allowance, you still have to pay. Of course, homeless people rarely are on these schemes, leaving them very little access to medical treatment.

I think my tax bill is very high. But, every month when I took at my payslip and see how much has been taken off by the government before I even get to see it, I take some comfort in the fact that it is going to help those less fortunate than me, I mean that’s the point of having a social welfare state right? But incidents like this make you question, how many people are slipping through the gaps?

Meeting Matt

Friday, July 1st, 2011 | Foundation, Humanism

Often, volunteering with the Humanist Action Group is a very rewarding experience. We always receive positive feedback on the homeless outreach work we do. However, sometimes, it’s heartbreaking.

Last week, myself and Katie were out out on the usual run, when we encountered a man sat at the bottom of Briggate. He was very memorable because of the amount of blood covering his eye and nose.

Having sat down to talk to him, we soon discovered that only about fifteen minutes before we arrived, he had been badly assaulted by a group of young men.

After finding an eye witness and taking his details should the police be able to do anything, we walked Matt up to Leeds General Infirmary to get him checked out. Despite having a headache he thankfully seemed still coherent, but you can’t be too careful with blows to the head.

My point is though, who does that?

Who just goes up to someone and starts kicking them in the head? Or tramp whacking was Matt described it.

I’ll be honest, normally I would be a little dubious of such a story, but having had it entirely collaborated by an eye witness you have to wonder to yourself what kind of sick bastard would do such a thing. It degrades your faith in humanity.

Matt was clearly an intelligent guy who had been down on his luck; on the way to the hospital he discussed various programming languages with me, and the various flavours of physics with Katie. If it can happen to Matt, it can happen to anyone.

Yet somehow, some individuals, luckily a very, very small minority of our society, think it is OK to abuse people like Matt.

Luckily, there is something we can do. Getting out there and making a difference not only provides a valuable service but also has an incredibly powerful psychological impact, showing that people do care.

As such, I would like to take this opportunity to says thank you to everyone who has been involved with HAG work over the years. It is times like this that really remind you why it is important.

An open letter to David Cameron

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 | Humanism, Religion & Politics

I seem to be writing a lot of open letters these days. It’s mainly for two reasons. The first is that it’s a lot cheaper to write an open letter than one you post in the traditional matter – the cost of a stamp may not seem much but actually I need to buy a book of stamps and a pack of envelopes, I then use one of which and the rest eventually get lost which is a waste not to mention the huge cost of my time for doing all this. The second is of course that Royal Mail would probably lose the letter at the end of all that. But anyway…

Having read the recent BHA e-bulletin, Pepper kindly pointed me in the direction of this Conservative blog post in which David Cameron is quoted as saying

take me to a humanist soup kitchen

Given that David was at the time talking about religiously-inspired volunteering (as opposed to volunteering carried out simply because you have good morals and care about your fellow human being) it seems appropriate to use the Biblical quote “ask and you shall receive.”

As a consequence I would like to extend an invitation to Mr. Cameron to spend an evening with the Humanist Action Group here in Leeds which regularly go out to offer soup and hot drinks to the homeless living on the streets.

Come spend some time helping out – not because your god or your holy book tells you to but purely on the basis that it’s the right thing to do. I’m sure many religious people volunteer for the same motives but the suggestion that volunteering is purely the pursuit of the religious is simply beyond laughable.

Even a quick glance at statistics show that the non-religious give more to the charity than the religious do. But of course that doesn’t even begin to paint an accurate picture because most non-believers don’t give to charity in the name of atheism so the actual higher is much higher.

So come down, spend some time volunteering in Leeds, see how it’s possible to give out a cup of coffee without a verse from a holy book cleverly inscribed on the lid.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Chris Worfolk