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A Decent Proposal: Pagan Social Services

Friends, Romans, heathens, pagans, countrymen and women, lend me your ears. From time to time, many of us bemoan bad behavior in our communities, but today I would like to put forth a serious question: what would you like to do about it?

I know that we are scattered and often many of us are isolated or solitary in our practices. But faith should bring us solace in our grief and a network of support when we are in need. What can or should we do to facilitate this?

We do have charity, and there are people doing admirable things on the local level, like Alley Valkyrie in Eugene, Be the Light Chapel, or Kyrja Withers’ organization, Hands of the Goddess here in Central Florida. And yes, Kyrja still does open and active community work as a Pagan, despite hate crimes perpetuated against her and her family.  Hands of the Goddess also has a South Georgia chapter. The Maetreum of Cybele provides shelter for abused women, despite harassment from local authorities.

And those are just the people that are on my personal radar; I’m sure there are many more out there who could and would like to help people, which brings me to this question: If you do charity work, are you willing to have your contact information (or the organization, if you run an org) put up on a database where someone could put in their zip or city/state/province and find local, pagan-friendly assistance?

I have a friend who is programmer who has put forth the willingness to do the code. But I need contact information for counselors, therapists, hypnotherapists, shelters, food pantries, emergency housing, and medical assistance. Said contacts don’t have to be Pagan, but they need to be Pagan-friendly. We need to network and support each other. The discrimination against Pagan charities is less likely to continue as we show solidarity and as we do more work, because then the public begins to understand that we’re not scary – we’re the people who help the needy.  So please, let’s network. Send me your social services information. Let’s get it up and easily found by whoever needs it.

Example for a submission:

Name: (organization or person)
Need: (shelter, food assistance, counseling, etc)
Address:
Phone number:
Web and social media links:
Where and how to donate:
Any other pertinent information (ex: shelter that does not discriminate against trans* individuals)

And if you’re reading this and you need assistance right now, 2-1-1.org can connect you to social services – in my area it pulls up the United Way, which is an org that has a mixture of secular and faith-based assistance programs.

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Lokean nun, writer, swamp witch. Heather is a Pagan monastic, writer, editor, and mother. She has written and edited for a variety of publications and social media, including science journals, romance novels, and technology blogs. She also holds degrees in education and speech-language pathology, and has a passion for historical linguistics.

Comments

  • David Dashifen Kees
    David Dashifen Kees Tuesday, 04 February 2014

    If your programmer friend needs any backup, let me know.

    This is something I tried to do a few years ago to try and get some contacts in the Pagan community throughout the country. I think I got about 40% of the states covered, some overly so, and we stuck together for a few years but when nothing was really happening for us to work on, groups returned to their own business (as they probably should). Unfortunately, that contact list is long gone or I'd point it toward this post.

    Good luck and let me know how I can help!!

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Tuesday, 04 February 2014

    Thank you for taking on this task. I've tried to collect names of Pagan charities, and sometimes even asking the question has resulted in hostility, ranging from, "Why would we want to be like the Christians?" to "Who are you and why do you want to know?" I think the numerous conversations about real Pagan institutions is building in momentum, and I sincerely hope that momentum propels this project.

  • Art and Spirit Guild
    Art and Spirit Guild Wednesday, 05 February 2014

    OMG this is so awesome. Our local community leaders really want to provide services to Pagans in need but we have a difficult time identifying those who need help. Sign us up!!!!!

  • Kimberly Reeves
    Kimberly Reeves Wednesday, 05 February 2014

    http://www.pagansinneed.org is our food pantry. We are just local to SE Mich but I'd love to hook up with other groups for ideas. E-mail kreeves2801@gmail.com

  • Heather Freysdottir
    Heather Freysdottir Wednesday, 05 March 2014

    Thank you all for your support; for now I've started a Pinterest board for the social services that I'm already aware of at http://www.pinterest.com/freysdottir/pagan-and-pagan-friendly-social-services/. It can be a starting point for people until we get the database built. If you'd like to help with the board, please email me at lokisbruid AT gmail DOT com.

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