How Can Atheists Help in the Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy?

As we speak, Superstorm Sandy has taken over 50 lives, cut power to more than 6,000,000 people, may have caused $20,000,000,000 in structural damage, and resulted in about $30,000,000,000 in lost business.

You’d like to do something to help. But how? You don’t belong to a church or other community that’s equipped to help… so what can you do?

The Foundation Beyond Belief has a couple of suggestions and they’re collecting money for the cause, 100% of which will be passed along to relief organizations:

Every disaster event has a different profile and a unique set of needs. In the Caribbean, the most pressing need is for basic medical care, food, and shelter, especially in Haiti and Cuba. In the U.S., efforts are focused on restoring public safety, restoring power and safe water supplies, and rebuilding devastated communities.

This drive provides two separate opportunities for donations. In Haiti, our beneficiary is INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS, a well-established nonsectarian disaster response organization currently on the ground in Haiti.

In the United States, our beneficiary is TEAM RUBICON, an innovative new disaster response organization that leverages the skills of U.S. military veterans in the aftermath of natural disasters. TR currently has eleven volunteer teams at work in the U.S. disaster zone.

If you can donate to one or both of the groups, the links are found on FBB’s Crisis Response page.

If that’s not your thing, here are some alternative ways to help:

Donate blood.

The Freethought Society (based in Pennsylvania) is collecting and distributing money with the help of a few other organizations. (You can share their Facebook page, too.)

Whatever you do, please do something.

God won’t make everything better; it’s entirely up to us.

(via Secular Coalition for America)

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.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    That sounds like work. I’ll just pray for people instead. That way I can be cheap and smug at the same time.

  • Niki Bennett

    Don’t forget about the pets that need help as well! The Columbus Dispatch’s website has an article with links if you want to help people take care of and find missing pets.

  • Richard Wade

    Donated $$, and because my health is back, tomorrow I’ll donate a pint of blood. 

  • Ibis3

    The death toll, according to Wikipedia, is at 127. 

  • Smorg Smorg

    Why do we have to always divide ‘atheists’ and ‘theists’ even in things like this? It isn’t like atheists aren’t allowed to donate to relief orgs that are run by theists and vice versa. Why not just say ‘How ANYONE can help’ rather than ‘How ATHEISTS can help’?

    I’m an atheist, btw, but I don’t subscribe to the ‘us against them’ sort of mentality.

  • M. Elaine

    Because ‘they’ love to accuse ‘us’ of not caring or doing anything.
    Because ‘they’ claim ‘we’ can’t be good without a god.
    Because ‘they’ may (and often do) proselytize while providing a charitable service.

    These are my own reasons for preferring to donate to a secular/humanist/atheist group instead of a religious charity.

  • keddaw

    Can I pretend to donate canned goods in a staged photo-op which is really a fund-raising rally and where the charity I’m giving the canned goods to says they are not required and cost more to collect, sort and transport than they’re actually worth?

  • ReadsInTrees

    Money is short, so I always view donating blood as my free way to save lives. Alas, I just donated a couple of weeks ago, so I have to wait until December to donate again.

  • Gringa

    You can also donate directly to the Red Cross, which is providing shelters and supplies:
    Red Cross Disaster Relief Donation Page (tax

    Despite Mitt Romney’s publicity stunt in Ohio, the Red Cross prefers monetary donations to physical supplies due to logistical issues.

    I also recommend donating to the humane society, which is providing pet shelters and also operates a sanctuary in the Jersey Shore area –

    Please help my hometown!

  • Cernunnos

     There are LOTS of charities out there, and no one should just assume that the money they give to any charity is all going to go completely towards the cause they are giving to.  Some are much worse than others, where the heads of the charities make 100,000s of dollars and only fractions of the amount go towards actual causes.  When I give money, I like to know where it is going.  I am not going to give to a religious charity if any of that money is going to go towards religious institutions, where they spend money on bibles and training people to proselytize, where help is with strings attached.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving people the option to give to charities that don’t have religion involved.

  • M. Elaine

    “Are a male who has ever had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977″ <— This is still on the donor review questionnaire. :(

  • allein

    I’m in Central Jersey; still have no power in my area but otherwise I am fine. I finally ventured out yesterday and was listening to the radio (NJ 101.5) in the car, and the DJ went on a rant – completely out of nowhere, mind you – about how you don’t see the “f-ing atheists” out there working, they’re just trying to strip everyone of their free speech rights and it’s the churches you see giving out water and cleaning up and whatnot. And then he threw in, “I’m not even a religious person, but….” I wanted to call and tell him maybe the “f-ing atheists” are just doing the work without advertising their (non)religious affiliations and that’s why you don’t “see” them. Unfortunately I was driving and had no way of noting the phone number. Considering sending them an email when i get my power back (I’m at work right now)…which might not be until next week.

  • colleen_s

    The lack of a visible response from secularists in New York City has been disheartening.  While I have no doubt that many secular individuals have been putting their time and energy into the relief efforts it is frustrating that there is no larger organizing force.  The churches and their congregations have been a big presence throughout the relief effort further reinforcing the fallacy that religious are also the generous.

  • Stephanie Martin

    Elaine I heard that nasty remark also from that tin foil hat wearin douchebag Dennis Malloy!..Last night (when I finally got my internet connection back)I shot a message on FB to David Silverman telling him about the crack in hope that he might  make a call to the station..

  • steph

    Why not reframe the question? Why your obsessive polarisation?  What can we as a society do to help?  There are many organisations who are set up to provide practical help and financial support and some are religious organisations.  So what. The Progressive Anglicans here, contribute hugely to our society in the form of environmental and social justice issues offer much needed practical support in times like this.  As an inclusive group they attract a diverse range of people with their community activities.  From non believers like me to Muslims and other faiths and philosophical perspectives. Therefore as a large and positive group, I would offer an extra pair of hands and empty my pockets with that organisation in order to be sure they would do some good.

  • allein

    Oh, is that his name? Not a station I usually listen to; I just had it on to get more local NJ news. Thanks! Now I know who to complain about!