Friendly Atheist Readers Helped Mississippians ‘Beat the Heat’

Last month, Humanists in Northeast Mississippi tried to raise money to buy air conditioners for the 100+ people waiting in line for an air conditioner unit.

They didn’t get a lot of support at first, but I’m thrilled to report there’s a happy ending to the story:

… we had zero luck getting any local help. Everybody claimed it was a great thing to do but nobody had any real desire to do the work. It seems people around here — even churches — are very skeptical about helping others who aren’t of their own flock. Everybody talked a good game but when it came down to actually giving their money, they weren’t willing.

… We ended up with a ton more money than we had thought we would thanks to the Friendly Atheist and his wonderful community. These people came out of the woodwork to donate to the cause and, because of their efforts, we were able to buy seven air conditions instead of just one or two. To Hemant and his readers, we thank you so much for trusting us to make the lives of the poor and elderly just a little bit better.

I wish I could take credit, but I just typed some words. Many thanks to all of you who chipped in!

The money they raised (over $800) allowed them to buy seven air conditioner units:

The leftover funds allowed them to buy “file folders, notebooks, pencils, and hand sanitizer for 40 kids” and a few first aid kits, too :)

Good news all around.

If you’re in the area, consider joining the newly-formed Northeast Mississippi Secular Humanist Association so more charity-fundraisers like this can happen!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • advancedatheist

    I’ve wondered about people who have lived in the same community for years, yet they seem to have gotten by without either an air conditioner or winter clothing until someone organizes a charitable giveaway. The winter clothing thing especially puzzles me. I can see why you might need new clothing for your children who have outgrown last year’s clothes; but why would you need it for yourself? What did you wear last winter, in other words, and what happened to those garments?

    • http://mamamara.wordpress.com/ Mara

       Uh, you do realize that grownup clothing wears out eventually, right? I buy a new coat now and then when the old coat gets holes in it. I don’t think that’s very profligate of me.

      And what about people who didn’t have a winter coat, but survived by wearing layers and layers and layers? Do they deserve to have a coat too?

      Air conditioners wear out and break, too. We helped my BIL install new air conditioners in his expensive Manhattan condo because the old ones were leaking and creaky and barely worked.

    • alfaretta

       How did they live without?

      Quick answer:  they SUFFERED.  And some of them died.

    • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

      Well, personally, I’ve worn the same winter coat since I moved to Chicago from Southern California in 2008.  I wear a hoodie, sometimes two, until it get really cold, and if it gets REALLY cold I wear a hoodie under my coat, mostly because it provides extra insulation around my head, and the neck on my coat pinches, so if I have to zip it all the way, it’s annoying.

      In the 2010-11 winter, I developed a rip on the inner arm seam of my coat.  It’s a fiberfill jacket, so the rip made the coat pretty much useless in that spot.  I tried to mend it, but it didn’t work out too well, and I couldn’t take it to a tailor to be fixed because I needed to wear it, so I patched it with electrical tape.  About March the tape stopped working, but it was almost spring, so I didn’t deal with it.

      I took it to the tailor over last summer, and they mended it, but the seam pulled out again in October, and the coat+hoodie option worked well the previous year, so I just continued dressing that way.  If I keep my arms close to my side the wind didn’t get a chance at my seam.  It did get a bit larger, but by then (March) it was starting to warm up anyway.Now, personally, I’m not poor.  I’m cheap when it comes to clothes, because I’d rather spend my money on books, yarn, and sushi.  I have two pairs of shoes and am trying to decide which of two nice outfits I own I should wear to a friend’s wedding this weekend.  But this year I’ll probably have to get a new coat, or sometime this winter my entire arm seam is going to come open.   It’s entirely conceivable that if I were poor I wouldn’t be unable to afford it.Now I do have one friend who is poor.  Minimum wage job, crappy hours, and student debt poor.   Rent a room in a house for $400/month and no air conditioning, foodbank poor.  No landline, no cable, Internet only on her phone, and sometimes doesn’t have enough minutes at the end of the month to keep her phone on poor.  Walked three miles to school when she couldn’t afford a bus pass poor.  Evicted last year when her former landlord wanted to rent the apartment to his divorcing sister and spent four days sleeping on the subway because she couldn’t find a place to rent in her budget poor.  She wears three sweat shirt/hoodie layers instead of a coat in the winter.   She’d probably love a winter coat giveaway.

    • Tweenky Dee

      The weather here in Mississippi tends to be really hot in summer and pretty cold in winter. Most folks here can only afford cheap clothing and it doesn’t last long. I go through clothes and shoes quite frequently because I have to buy at discount stores. I’ve also gone for years without air conditioning because a) mine broke and I couldn’t afford to replace it, and b) I moved and the new place didn’t have any. I spent one summer hanging out at Walmart until the sun went down because it was too hot in my house. That winter, I came home and got straight under an electric blanket because we had no central heat.

      Most people down here are very poor. I’m probably lower middle class so imagine what everyone else goes through.

      • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

        I have a friend in Mississippi who couldn’t afford his child support and his rent, so he lived in his truck.  

  • Kate Holden-Laudig

    I’m from the Mississipi Gulf Coast where it’s very hot and humid. I can’t imagine not having air conditioning in those conditions. Thank you thank you to everybody who did this!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    It never hurts to contact big-box stores and maunfacturers directly.  If they won’t donate in return for the free advertising, you may at least be able to swing a wholesale deal.


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