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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Humanists of West Florida Launch GoFundMe to Tackle Food Insecurity

Dec 06, 2023 09:31AM ● By Dianna Montoya

In the heart of Pensacola, the Humanists of West Florida (HWF) are gearing up for a transformative initiative to address the pressing issue of food insecurity in the region. As a dedicated nonprofit organization, HWF has been actively impacting the lives of our neighbors in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties since its establishment in 2013.

“Through the unwavering commitment of our devoted volunteers, HWF has distributed approximately 25 tons of fresh and non-perishable food weekly, rain or shine,” shares HWF Secretary/Treasurer, Andre “Buz” Ryland. “This current effort is conducted in collaboration with the esteemed organization Food Not Bombs, marking a powerful partnership aimed at combating hunger in our community.”

According to Ryland, recent data from the Census Bureau reveals a startling statistic: one in eight Americans faces the challenge of securing reliable, nutritious food. “In response to this critical need, HWF's governing board has identified and committed to supporting the most underserved in homelessness and hunger,” assures Ryland. “The HWF recognizes the gap in public weekend feedings in Pensacola and is determined to fill this void.”

Since its inception, HWF has been a beacon of hope for food-insecure families in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, establishing vital partnerships with local businesses along the way. In 2021, the organization launched a campaign distributing individual Humanist Giving bags of non-perishable food every Friday evening to help families get through the weekend. The annual cost of this initiative is nearly $8,000, and HWF successfully secured funding through a monthly grant from an internationally recognized organization, covering almost 50 percent of the costs, with private and small group donations making up the remaining balance.

However, the landscape has changed, and the grant program from the benefactor has been terminated. To ensure the continuity of this vital program through June 2024, HWF urgently requires $3,000 in funding. To achieve this, the organization has launched a GoFundMe campaign, calling on the community’s support to make a difference.

As a 501c3 community service organization and a proud chapter of the American Humanist Association, HWF is committed to creating a progressive society where ethical and compassionate living without a god is embraced and respected. “Established in 2013, HWF’s mission is to advance humanist thought and action in Pensacola and surrounding areas by fostering connections among humanists, atheists, agnostics and non-religious individuals,” explains Ryland. 

HWF seeks to promote equal participation in government and societal life through strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations and collaboration with religious neighbors. The organization stands as a testament to the core values of the humanist movement, always open to collaboration with friends and allies on issues of common concern.

Your support of their GoFundMe campaign will make a tangible difference in the lives of those most vulnerable in our community. “Together, let's build a future where no one goes hungry and compassion prevails,” adds Ryland.  

To join the Humanists of West Florida in their mission to combat food insecurity, visit hwfl.org.
For more information, contact Andre “Buz” Ryland, at P.O. Box 11930, Pensacola, FL, call 850-366-3410 or email 
[email protected].

Article author Dianna Montoya is an Air Force veteran, an active member of Humanists of West Florida, and co-leader of the Homeless and Hungry Team and Crew. 
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