Recently, I was working out of the JREF offices in Ft. Lauderdale. Sean McCabe, Randi’s personal assistant, volunteered to drive me to the airport when my weekend of sandy beaches was over, and it was time to return to my home – land of sandy deserts (Las Vegas).
We had some time to kill before heading to the airport, and drove around in circles for a while. We passed a sign outside a building that said, simply, “Please Give Peanut Butter. Thank You,” and decided there was no better way to kill time than giving peanut butter to random people who asked for it. We drove to a gas station, picked up peanut butter, and headed back to the building to find someone to hand it to – not knowing what the building was, or what the peanut butter was even for.
I mean, perhaps it was like asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar when you’re baking cookies. Just more elaborate.
But, in fact, we found ourselves donating peanut butter to a Christian outreach group benefitting the homeless and impoverished in Ft. Lauderdale.
Back in the car, Sean and I talked about how skeptics don’t necessarily get much credit for charitable acts. In fact, many believers will use the argument that since most skeptics don’t believe in God, skeptics must not be generous at all – they have no one watching over their shoulder telling them to be.
That’s just a bunch of crap, and most of us know it. But now I’ve launched a new site, with the help of many, that will document the charitable acts of non-believers and also invite people like you to participate in events, nation-wide drives, and projects in your local communities.
The site is called SkeptiLove.
Already, we’re involved in tons of projects. I’ve decided to close the doors on SAPS for a while, starting after Dragon*Con, and to focus on this instead. It will be nice to have a site that won’t necessarily generate enough hate mail to fill a dump truck. SAPS will still be around. Someday, I’m hoping to merge the two ideas. But for now, I think I’ll keep the happiness separate from the debunking.
The SAPS food drive for Three Square will be done in the name of SkeptiLove.
We still need help on one of the TAM projects, and I’m hoping that’s where you will come in. If you are coming to TAM and have a bit of spare money, or are coming to TAM under financial strain, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re arranging pair-ups for dinners.
And there’s a lot more going on, too.
Yesterday, the JREF donated nearly 1,000 shirts to the Ft. Lauderdale organization Jack and Jill Children’s Center, and they did so with lots of SkeptiLove.
George Hrab, F. Wagg, and David Federlein all gave songs that you can’t hear anywhere else to SkeptiLove so we could put them on a CD and promote the cause. We’ll have 300 copies of the CD at TAM, and they are totally free so long as you promise to give it a listen, and visit the site. It’s a great CD. Really. And I am eternally grateful to the people who worked so hard on making it happen.
And after TAM? There are plans in the works to cook dinner at the Las Vegas Ronald McDonald House, and to hold a clothing drive to benefit Opportunity Village. Both of those are events local to Las Vegas, but if you’re coming to TAM and want to help out, just follow the SAPS Red Wagon and I’ll be available to answer any questions (or to take spare clothes off your hands if you want to bring them to TAM, and have space in your carry-on).
And if you volunteer somewhere already and don’t have time to add additional projects to your plate, we get that, too. If you send in details of your charitable ventures, we’ll post your story on the site.
If you want to participate but think this all sounds a little expensive, there are alternative ideas for the financially constrained skeptic as well. Maybe you’d like to teach a group of children magic tricks, stand in the street and tell random passersby that you appreciate them, or read to people in the hospital. There are millions of ways to participate, and we hope to post them all.
Thanks for participating. All you need is love. Pass it on.