Superstorm Sandy left hundreds of thousands without power, permanently altered long-standing communities, and left a pressing, urgent feeling in the air of the terrible impact of this major weather event. The Freethought Society (FS)—a Volunteers Beyond Belief team—did not hesitate for a moment to begin thinking of ways to help those affected rebuild their lives.
Margaret Downey, president of the Freethought Society, made an impression at the 2011 Texas Freethought Convention when she delivered a presentation on altruism. This prompted the Texas Freethought Convention to contact Margaret after the storm and explore a possible partnership to help those in need. This started a groundswell of ideas that soon led to the inclusion of VBB and the United Coalition of Reason. These four would form the core of the Hurricane Sandy Emergency Relief Fund Committee. All of the members of this committee work as volunteers to help get financial assistance to victims as quickly as possible.
To help reach those in need, VBB created a nomination form. The personal stories here tell the real impact of this deadly storm. One nomination tells the tragic story of a daughter who lost her father and sister when a wave leveled their home in Staten Island. Her mother is in critical condition. The support of the nontheists community and the tireless efforts of this committee, led by Margaret and the Freethought Society, will go a small but important way to help this family – and others – rebuild their lives.
This committee’s action was recognized by the Washington Post and highlighted on numerous websites and press releases, including one from the Secular Coalition for America. To date, the efforts have raised more than $5,000 from 85 donors. Even a candidate for Congress in Louisiana, Randall Lord, contacted the committee to send future campaign donations to this relief fund.
As the nontheist community comes together around this international tragedy, efforts of our VBB teams do not go unnoticed. The stated goals of the Freethought Society are to raise awareness and acceptance of the nontheists. This effort will no doubt continue to contribute to their mission. To learn more about these efforts and offer your own financial support, please visit the Freethought Society.