Atheist Groups Are Raising Money to Help Families of Newtown Shooting Victims

Atheists Giving Aid is raising money to help cover the costs of the funerals and counseling for the victims of the Newtown massacre and their families (emphasis theirs):

During this time of great tragedy, American Atheists along with the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics (SOMA, a SSA affiliate and University of Kansas Student Organization) and We Are Atheism, have decided to come together to raise funds for the children and their families affected by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The families that have been hurt did not plan for their child’s funeral, no parent does. None of us would have ever thought to have money saved for the great expense of a funeral for any of our children. The money you donate will go directly to the Sandy Hook Elementary families for funeral expenses and counseling for the survivors of the shooting and their families. Now it is your turn to show that there are more of those who love and care for their fellow community members than those who would kill mercilessly.

They’ve already raised over $10,000 but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what the families need. If you can pitch in, please donate here.

In case you’re curious, I asked Adam Brown of We Are Atheism how they were going to disburse the funds. This is what he told me:

We have a list of the families and people on the ground there that can contact the families. We will give them all forms to fill out to find out their needs and whether they want the money or not. It’s set [aside] for funeral expenses and associated costs. There is also a scholarship fund and memorial fund [being] set up for the rest. We are working with the guy the school board there endorsed as the legitimate fund.


About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Done. Thank you, Hemant, and all the atheist groups who are helping. 

  • mkbell

    Why is our response to tragedy to hand money to the victims whether they need it or not?  If people want to fundraise around this tragedy there might be more appropriate, and needy, recipients, such as children of the many victims of gun violence in our cities.  I’m just not sure that the families of Newtown really need this.  

    • Michaelbrice

      Because we care? Because there’s not really much we can do, we are virtually powerless to help them, but at least we are doing something? To demonstrate that we feel their pain? Because………I can’t be there to cook your meals and do your laundry while you plan your child’s funeral, but maybe this small offering of money can assist in covering your lost wages and other unforseen costs.

      I don’t see it as a fundraiser, I see it as an unsolicited outpouring of sympathy in the form of donations……as stated in the article, who saves money to bury their 6 year old kid?

      And what makes you so sure that the people donating to the Newtown families are not already donating to or working for your pet (more appropriate) causes?

      • mkbell

        Michael, I think your sentiments are lovely.  I would just prefer that our grief be channeled into ways to make the world a better place — the 20, 26 or 28 acts of kindness campaign or raising money for poor schools through donorschoose.org or vowing to speak up whenever the profession of teaching is maligned or working to change the culture of violence in our country.  I’m just not impressed with efforts to raise money for people who have not asked for it and are unlikely to need it (the Newtown area is fairly affluent).

        • tubi

          Can’t we do both? I.e. do all, or some at least, of the general good things you list, and also donate to help a family that might be in need as the result of this specific incident?

          I suspect that applies to many of the donors to this account so far. It does to me.

          • mkbell

            Sure and I think that is what Michaelbrice is suggesting too.  Where I’m coming from is that if a tragedy affected my family I would prefer that people be inspired to try to make the world a better place, than be inspired to hand me (or ask me if I needed) money.  But if you want to do both, go for it.

    • ReadsInTrees

      Did you read the article? They’ll send a form out to the families to see what help they need and whether they even want money.


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