We hear that the annual National Day of Prayer has also spurred atheists to act, and they are seizing the occasion to do good works in their community.
The atheist community in Polk County, Florida, for example, 11 is organizing a series of community service events and an awareness campaign to suggest that “fellowship” does not require “faith.”
It is all part of an annual effort to celebrate a Secular Action Week Instead of observing the National Day of Prayer, which was reserved in US federal law for people of faith to pray for the nation on the first Thursday in May.
Instead of observing a day of thoughts and prayers, secular groups organize service projects across the country. This year’s emphasis is on a compassionate response to hunger and homelessness, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nonprofit organization that covers the Lakeland and Winter Haven metropolitan areas runs several ongoing programs to address social issues. They even partnered with a church in a unique food pantry coalition in direct response to COVID-19.
Joining the Lakeland Unitarian Universalist Congregation, the project, called It Takes a Village, uses volunteers to deliver food pantry supplies directly to the homes of recipients who may be quarantined or unable to visit the pantry.
These local atheists also run a Street Warriors chapter to provide hot meals to the homeless, and a Backpack Program that provides groceries on weekends for elementary school students.
In addition to providing much-needed food to people across the county, Secular Action Week includes a group-adopted highway trash cleanup in Haines City on Sunday, May 2 at 8:45 am.
His Street Warriors service project will also meet on Sunday (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) in Winter Haven to pack food and then go outside to feed the homeless.
Under the slogans ‘Good Without God’, ‘Community Without Church’ and ‘Fellowship Without Faith’, Polk County Atheist Co-Founder Sarah Ray says that one of the most important things her group offers is a sense of community.
“We want other non-believers to know that there is a secular community that they can turn to. And we want to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes about atheists. We are good people, we are your neighbors, co-workers and friends ”.
They will also offer a secular invocation at the Polk County Board of Commissioners meeting two days before the National Day of Prayer. “Providing secular invocations gives us the opportunity to remind elected officials at all levels that non-believers exist in their constituency.”
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