Nonbelief Relief, a leading freethought charity, has announced its mid-year grants intended to “to improve this, our only world.”
Nonbelief Relief, a charitable organization created by the executive board of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, is a humanitarian agency taking charitable action in the name of atheists, agnostics and other freethinkers. Nonbelief Relief seeks to remediate conditions of human suffering and injustice on a global scale, whether the result of natural disasters, human actions or adherence to religious dogma. Such relief is not limited to but includes assistance for individuals targeted for nonbelief, secular activism or blasphemy.
After its mid-year meeting, the Nonbelief Relief board of directors announces the following timely gifts:
• RAICES, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services — Legal Representation, Education and Advocacy (LEAF) Project, $10,000.
Founded in 1986, RAICES has grown to be the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas. RAICES has received an influx of contributions after a couple’s small Facebook fundraiser went viral, and has pledged to use the funds to help any separated immigrant families and unaccompanied children in any state. The money will go toward legal fees, bond (so that families can be released from detention and find their children again), and transportation costs. An individual case can range between $2,500 to $15,000 and RAICES has pledged to ensure everyone needing help is helped, free of charge. The Trump administration’s initial justification for the program, which is wreaking such havoc and misery, was biblical in nature, Nonbelief Relief notes.
• Oxfam America, earmarked for relief in Yemen, $10,000.
Yemen is caught in the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and on the verge of famine after three years of war and a de facto blockade have pushed food and fuel prices out of reach, Oxfam reports, leaving people without clean water, food, hospitals, and schools.
Sixty percent of the population — 17.8 million people — doesn’t know where they’ll get their next meal, and 6.8 million face extreme hunger. More than 3 million people have fled their homes, and nearly 19 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Since July 2015, Oxfam and its partners have reached 2.8 million people with assistance that includes water and sanitation services, cash assistance and food vouchers. In response to the cholera outbreak — the fastest-growing cholera epidemic in history — Oxfam is delivering water, sanitation, and hygiene to help prevent the spread of the disease. The havoc caused in Yemen is largely due to Saudi Arabia using it as a battleground in an anti-Shiite campaign, proving the divisive nature of religion.
• Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), $10,000.
In 2017, SAMS provided 3,251,639 medical services, treated 2,074,460 beneficiaries, sponsored 119 medical facilities, and supported 3,072 medical and nonmedical workers.
SAMS is a global medical relief organization that is working on the front lines of crisis relief in Syria and beyond to save lives and alleviate suffering. SAMS operates 50 primary health care facilities, including eight mobile clinics, across Syria, providing medical care for communicable and non-communicable diseases for local populations, internally displaced persons and those living in areas.
• Alliance for Period Supplies, $2,500.
One in four U.S. women have struggled to purchase period products in the past year due to income, and one in five have lost school or work (or even lost jobs) because they couldn’t afford adequate supplies. Alliance for Period Supplies is a new national organization to help insure that individuals in need have access to essential period products required to participate fully in daily life. The fund is administered by the National Diaper Bank Network, and caught the eye of Nonbelief Relief board members because of Katha Pollitt’s recommendation in a recent Nation column. “When is a necessity not a necessity?” asks Pollitt, an honorary officer of FFRF: “When it’s a product used by half the population every month for 35 to 40 years, but never even once by the other half. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about menstrual supplies.” Thirty-six states tax sanitary supplies, but a drive is on to overturn such taxation.
“The majority of religions consider the natural and life-affirming function of menstruation as ‘unclean’ and otherwise stigmatize women,” notes Annie Laurie Gaylor, who is FFRF co-president and administrator of Nonbelief Relief. “Even today, many women in Nepal are forced into degrading and unsafe ‘menstruation huts’ in a practice partially derived from Hinduism. In our part of the world, the notion of menstruation as a ‘curse,’ which is biblically rooted, has contributed to our society’s lack of attention to basic needs and dignity for women.”
Members of FFRF and other freethinkers are encouraged to make charitable donations via Nonbelief Relief so it can continue to publicly donate in the name of nonbelief. Churches have long been credited with charitable works because they give on behalf of their congregations. Nonbelievers are just as charitable, but have lacked the infrastructure to give as a group. Please give, if you can, to Nonbelief Relief, via FFRF, by choosing “Nonbelief Relief” in the “where do you want your donation to be used?” dropdown menu at ffrf.org/donate, to ensure your contributions remain deductible for income-tax purposes. Your donation will go toward similar charitable gifts in the future, including endangered nonbelievers.