According to a recent Gallup Poll, in the past year more than 20% of Americans reported not having enough money to purchase the food that they or their families needed. As a result of the global financial meltdown and ensuing economic downturn, more and more households are turning to soup kitchens and food pantries to make ends meet. Across the country, organizations which provide food assistance are struggling to keep up with rising demand. The situation in Wisconsin is no different. From a recent article in Madison's Capitol Times:
The pattern is the same in food pantries throughout Dane County, where visits rose 56 percent from 2007 to 2010, when the number reached 132,000. Visits are on a pace this year to jump another 13 percent, says Brockel. His agency provides food and technical support to the Dane County Food Pantry, a group of about 50 pantries, shelters and meal sites operating out of churches, community centers and service agencies. "We hear from all the pantries that they are setting records every week," he says.Atheists, united, have the power to make a difference. Thus, AHA is proud to announce a new partnership with the non-sectarian Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin. Every year, Second Harvest distributes more than 8.6 million pounds of food, for free, to 141,000 hungry people (43% of which are children). They have also received a four star Charity Navigator rating - indicative of an exceptional level of accountability, transparency, and efficiency. Best of all, through its relationships with manufacturers and retailers, Second Harvest is able to provide three meals for every $1 donated. Check it out:
AHA will be competing with The Crossing campus ministry and the Muslim Student Association to see which group is able to raise the most money for the Second Harvest Food Bank by the end of November. This is, of course, a friendly competition - and should be taken as an example of the way that, regardless of the particular faith traditions we come from, we can all join together under the common cause of trying to make the world a better place.
However, bragging rights are at stake!
I want AHA to win, and you can help. We've recently implemented a "Donate" button at the top right hand corner of the blog. You can contribute using PayPal or any major credit card. 100% of the money raised through the blog between now and the end of the funding drive will go towards our total donation to Second Harvest. Currently, AHA has raised about $175 from our members alone. By tapping into the generosity of the atheist internet hive-mind, I am declaring a fundraising goal of $500 - that's 1,500 meals - by the end of the month. Your donation will help ensure an AHA victory, thus proving once and for all that atheists are more moral than Christians and Muslims. (That was a joke) Seriously though, if this contest ignites within us a competitive, wallet-opening spirit... then we will have successfully fed more hungry people, and ultimately that is the most important thing.
This post was featured on the Friendly Atheist blog thanks to our dear friend Hemant Mehta. I'm a sucker for statistics, so I'll be updating this post as donations come rolling in.
12:00pm: Friendly Atheist post goes live.
12:37pm: First $100 raised.
1:10pm: Up to $200!
1:45pm: $300 - Shout out to Richard Wade of "Ask Richard" fame.
2:28pm: $450 ... Almost there!
3:05pm: $505 - Fundraising goal achieved! Can this rate be sustained? New Goal: $1000
5:05pm: $700 - Victory will be ours!
8:05pm: $905 - So close to breaking the $1k barrier...
9:15pm: $995 - I can almost taste it!
11:27pm: $1010! - SUCCESS Unbelievable. $1000 in 12 hours. Thank you all.
11/24/11 Thanksgiving Update
Donations continue to roll in. New total: $1350!