Atheist Group Raises Money for Charity By Selling Hugs

The University of Saskatchewan Freethought Alliance recently raised over $1,000 for Doctors Without Borders by selling hugs:

I would’ve gotten the one with the awkward silence bonus.

Brandon Gerbig, a member of the group, explains the inception of the idea at The Course of Reason blog:

The idea started out as a campaign to put a “friendly face” on the atheists in our university group by handing out free hugs. We would go out, set up a booth, and hug whoever would dare to hug us heathens. Then a member of our group had a revelation, “Hug an atheist for charity”. Why not give out the hugs, and raise money for charity at the same time?

The reception to the event was overall very positive, with several outspoken religious people coming forward to hug and donate to the heathen atheist cause. There were, of course, a few dirty looks and hushed comments, but I doubt you could hold any kind of event without a few of those.

Brilliant idea and one worth replicating.

Because we can’t let Canada have all the good ideas.

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.

  • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    I’m just happy to see that the menu is free of the dreaded “Christian side-hug”!


  • Sarah

    Man, I wish these guys were around when I went there!

  • PegK

    Are the premium desert hugs unusually dry?

  • PegK

    Sorry, trying to be funny. The possessive entree bugs me too. AAAAGH! MUST STOP CORRECTING!!!

  • allein

    I would have said something but you beat me to it. PROOFREADING IS FOR EVERYONE!!!

  • Keith Roragen

    What, no Christian side hugs?

  • Adam Patrick

    Dear FSM!

  • Caniel Donrad

    I think it would be awesome to raise money for charity during lent by holding an atheist fish fry. With pork, poultry and beef on the menu.

  • Michael

    What happens when the 220lb guy buys the eagle hug?

    Just wondering.

    – 220lb guy.

  • Joe Zamecki

    Excellent idea! Yes, I’d like to see this copied here in the states. All over the world! :o)

  • chicago dyke

    i used to think you were a nice person. then, you made my ears and eyes bleed with a youtube. damn you.


  • McAtheist

    Pretty embarrassing grammar and spelling for University students, that said, way to go U of S.

  • allein

    The have to find a 400 lb guy to administer it?

  • JustSayin’

    I agree, Mc, but this seems to be the way of the world these days. I guess clarity in communication is passé or even downright square, daddy-o. (I’m sure there are other commenters who’ll chide us for being sticklers for proper grammar usage and spelling, but just as you wrote, these *are* college kids, after all.) In related linguistic news, I’m particularly disturbed by the overabundance of people online—of all ages—who either (a) no longer know, or (b) never cared to learn the difference between “to” and “too,” and “you” and “you’re.” It’s a veritable epidemic!

  • JustSayin’

    Make that “your” and “you’re.”

  • RowanVT

    They should have someone strong enough. I’m only 5’6″ and I can pick up and walk away with someone up to 300lbs. :D

  • Uncle Tod

    Yes – for instance the Sahara and the Gobi are premium deserts while the Mojave is lower on the scale.

  • pansies4me

    What about when someone uses the term “believe” when they mean “belief”? As in, “She doesn’t have the same believe as I do , but…”. It drives me crazy!

  • JustSayin’

    Annoying, to be sure, but I honestly don’t see that very often. I do, however, frequently see “I should of” or “they should of” (the writer having obviously misheard what is the contraction of “should have”). I also see “conscious” substituted for “conscience” far too often.

  • Drew M.

    Sadly, it won’t be long before apostrophed plurals are acceptable.

  • M. Elaine


    breath vs. breathe
    lie vs. lay
    there vs. their vs. they’re

    I blame the <a href=”” title=”YourBrainOnPolitics” error-detecting liberal tendencies of my anterior cingulate cortex.

  • Brandon Cary Gerbig

    Im the man who the article refers to, feel free to message me with questions.

  • Brandon Cary Gerbig

    I wrote the paper, Im to blame, and yes, I was raised by spell check.