As humanists, we have a lot of issues that are important to us. We want to help as many people as possible, and we can have a hard time figuring out where to start. What can we do that will have the biggest impact?
If we truly want to make a difference, we need to start in our own communities. Here are some ways we can make a difference from the ground up in the Magnolia State.
Volunteer at Big House Books
Did you know Mississippi has the fifth highest imprisonment rate in the country? A whopping 597 out of every 100,000 residents are in the system. Only Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Arkansas have higher incarceration rates.
Reading gives prisoners hope and a chance to escape from time to time. It can also help with rehabilitation.
That’s why it’s so important to volunteer your time or donate money to Big House Books in Jackson. This nonprofit organization sends books to inmates all around the state of Mississippi, and you can help.
The Mississippi Humanist Association is having our Second Saturday Volunteer Day at Big House Books on August 11, and we would love to have you there. You can also sign up for one of Big House Books’ other book packing parties.
Do you live too far from Jackson to volunteer at Big House Books? You can still help by donating. Donations are accepted online, and your money will help the nonprofit buy postage.
Join Habitat for Humanity
Mississippi might not have as big of a homeless problem as other states do, but it’s still a serious issue. It’s especially troubling when you consider the number of homeless children in the state. Close to 13,000 public school students in Mississippi were homeless during the 2012-2013 school year. Help the homeless one family at a time by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.
There are Habitat Humanity affiliates all over the state. It doesn’t matter if you live in Jackson, Columbus, Hattiesburg, or somewhere else. You are likely close to an affiliate.
You don’t need to know anything about building a house help out. There will be professionals onsite, lending their time as well. Let them lead the way as you make a difference in a family’s life.
Give a Hand at the Mississippi Food Network
Over 600,000 people struggle with hunger in Mississippi. That comes out to 1 in 5 people.
You can do your part to end food insecurity in Mississippi by helping out at the Mississippi Food Network (MFN). The MFN feeds 150,000 people a month, and it needs your help.
Become a Pink House Defender
The state of Mississippi has worked hard to restrict a woman’s right to choose. Before receiving an abortion, women have to:
- Receive state-directed counseling
- Wait 24 hours before the procedure
- Undergo an ultrasound
- Obtain parental consent if they are under 18
Just in case that isn’t enough, women also have to travel to the only abortion clinic in the state. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, commonly known as the Pink House, is the only place to get an abortion in Mississippi.
As you can imagine, protesters don’t make it very comfortable for the women who come to the clinic. The women are harassed from the second they pull up to the clinic until they make it through the front door. Then, they have to deal with harassment again when they leave.
Pink House Defenders donate their time to the cause. They escort the patients into the clinic, doing their best to shield them from the harassment.
You can do your part by becoming a Pink House Defender. Call the clinic at (601)366-2261. You can also donate to the cause. Your money can keep the clinic up and running.
Where Do You Want to Volunteer?
There are lots of places to volunteer in Mississippi. What is your favorite? Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comment section below.
You can also help out by joining the MHA. Become a member for just $25 a year. Your membership fee will help us make a difference in the state.