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April 2020 Organizational Update

Despite the world being on hold, April was a productive month for us. We continued to respond to the Covid-19 crisis in any way we could, as well as gearing into the opportunity to come together with our supporters more on social media. This month has been a time of thankfulness for our community and reflecting the power of voluntaryism: when people come together and help one another in times of need. We’re encouraged by the helping hands that joined in on our Covid-19 response project and the involvement in VIA Community. Here’s what we have to look back on:

  • The Covid-19 Relief project provided 94 school children with a month of meals to alleviate the lack of work and resources that came with shelter and quarantine orders across the nation.

  • The Covid-19 PPE project provided 3D-printed personal protection equipment (65 face shields and 35 ear savers) to nurses, doctors, surgeons, EMTs, dentists, and other healthcare workers in response to the shortages.

  • Additionally, we coordinated with volunteers around the country to 3D print PPE for healthcare workers independently.

  • Libertarian merchandise store Liberty Junkies provided support to our Covid-19 Relief projects by donating the profits of their face masks to our foundation as well as bringing awareness to their audience of our cause.

  • Athena Fleeger was recognized Voluntaryist of the Month in VIA Community for her continued support and involvement.

  • Our ongoing t-shirt design contest launched and we are already receiving submissions as well as anticipating more great designs before the May 16th closing date.

With no real end in sight for the government’s COVID-19 lockdowns, we look ahead and know that we will continue to see voluntaryism at work. We continue pushing forward thanks to the encouragement from everyday people offering help and our supporters and donors.

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Seeking Volunteers for our Covid-19 PPE Project

Voluntaryism in Action (VIA) is seeking volunteers for our Covid-19 PPE Project! VIA’s chief of technology, Alon Ganon, is piloting a project to produce face shields in response to the high-demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) since the viral pandemic Covid-19 began sweeping the globe with caution, fear, and necessity.

While many volunteers all over have met the demand by producing cotton masks in their home for close family, friends, and their local hospitals, Ganon’s tool to create these shields is quite unique—a 3D printer, specifically a model created by Czech inventor Josef Prusa who forefronted the original project to produce the face shields when his country was especially hit by the need.

Since then, Ganon has obtained a dependable design for the U.S. based on Prusa’s original design, and now VIA is calling for the community to help with supplies and operations to assemble and process the face shields. The shields are durable and the frames sanitizable, enabling them to last through the remainder of the long pandemic. Here are four ways our voluntaryists can help us with provisions:

  • By donating supplies directly. Needed supplies include clear presentation covers, 1” wide elastic or rubber bands, 1.75 mm of PETG (plastic), and disposable gloves. These supplies can be found and bought online via Amazon Wishlist.
  • By donating your money to Voluntaryism in Action. Money is used to supply the needed materials to make the 3D printed PPE’s as well as the shipping costs to process the completed equipment.
  • By creating and donating face shields to VIA using a 3D printer. The free downloadable file can be found here. VIA accepts them in PLA or ABS—please notate which filament is used when sending them. Those with 3D printers are also encouraged to create bias tape makers to donate to their local sewing communities making fabric masks.
  • Healthcare workers can help additionally by donating face shields to VIA for free or the cost of shipping, as we are managing and processing them to where they are most needed with this project.

If you have any questions about our project or are a healthcare worker in need of a face sheild or you know healthcare workers in need, please reach out to us at [email protected] And please help us spread the word as we continue seeking volunteers for our Covid-19 PPE project!

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Nashville Tornado Disaster Relief

During the early morning hours of March 3rd, a very violent EF3 tornado moved through Nashville, Tennessee. Most of the Music City’s residents were asleep soundly in their beds as the funnel tore into downtown with its echoing roar.

By the time the storm approached Cookeville, Tennessee, it had produced a terrifying E4 with 175mph winds—the strongest our nation has seen in nearly four years. A resident of Cookeville, Eric Johnson, was crouching with his family in a bathtub when they were pulled and thrown 50 yards into a pile of debris. While they were lucky to survive, 24 lives were claimed in Nashville and Cookeville in total and hundreds of injuries were reported.

Nashville Tornado Disaster Relief
The E4 tornado rips through Nashville, TN.

When the sun rose on March 4th, Nashville looked entirely different than just hours before. Displaced families sifted through piles of memories to grab pieces of their own. Streets in downtown and closely lying neighborhoods were decorated with torn floral curtains, shattered flat screen televisions, family photos, and incredible amounts of debris piled on top of each other in mounds. Within just days, over 2,400 volunteers arrived from all over the US to feed residents and help with clean up.

Nashville Tornado Disaster Relief
Eric and Faith Johnson in the ruins of their home.

The morning after the storm’s harrowing devastation, Voluntaryism in Action launched the “Nashville Tornado Disaster Relief” fund. Within days, our donors were able to raise over $5,000 that was sent to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. There, these funds will be utilized to help with disaster relief and family needs.

With the power of voluntary assistance, these cities are being pieced back together quickly—action greatly needed considering we are in the beginning of what looks like a very active storm season in the southeast. If another crisis like this occurs, the VIA team stands ready to look for ways to send help to those in need. “Nashville Tornado Disaster Relief” is poised to become “Anytown Anystorm Disaster Relief,” thanks to our generous donors.

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March 2020 Organizational Update

March has been an incredibly busy month for us at VIA! We started out the month initiating emergency relief for tornado victims in Tennessee, and then the COVID-19 crisis suddenly turned the world upside down. Many of our volunteers were impacted, but we’ve been able to do our part to help those in our communities and all across the country who were the most affected by the government’s actions.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve accomplished this month:

  • Raised $5K for victims of the severe tornadoes in Nashville and surrounding areas.
  • Raised nearly $20K for COVID-19 relief.
  • Provided a few weeks worth of meals for 68 children and 37 low income families across the country. At our current pace we expect to be able to help five times that many!
  • Further invested in our IT infrastructure to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • Got our publishing department off the ground to help spread information about the voluntaryist philosophy as well as sharing what our small team has been able to accomplish. Check out our latest articles and share them with your friends!
  • Assistant Director Justin Glassman and Publishing Manager Jeff Perry represented VIA on our very first podcast! You can listen to the episode featuring VIA here.

Heading into April, we will continue to disperse COVID-19 relief as quickly as we can. You can help us by sharing this relief form with your communities: https://viaction.org/covid19-relief

As time allows, we hope to appear on podcasts more often to help spread our reach even further so that we can help even more people. None of this would be possible without our donors—thank you so much for helping us help so many people! Together we can prove to the world that voluntaryism is the better way.

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VIA Raises $15K for Australian Fire Relief

The 2019-2020 bushfire season in Australia was especially devastating. Fires burned approximately 26 million acres, destroyed almost 6,000 buildings, and killed numerous people. Not only was this a tragedy for the Australians in the path of these fires, but also for the wildlife that was caught in the blaze. An estimated 1 billion animals have perished and some species that were nearing extinction may be lost forever. This doesn’t even account for the future problems facing Australia’s wildlife when you consider how much of their natural habitat was burned to ash. However you look at it, Australians have a rough path ahead of them.

It’s often during the most troubling times that we see the best in humanity. People around the globe have banded together to help Australians in their time of need, and we here at Voluntaryism in Action knew we had to do our part in the relief effort. With the help of our followers, VIA was able to set a new record by raising over $15,000 to help in the emergency relief effort in Australia. This may not sound like much, but right now they can really use any help that they can get. We were able to send $10,000 to Givit, an organization on the ground in Australia that’s providing essential items to the victims of the fires. The remainder of the donations were given to Wires to help our four-legged friends. Wires is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization and is leading the charge in helping the impacted animals.

The fires have mostly subsided, and there has already been new growth coming up through the ashes. There’s a lot of rebuilding and hard work in Australia’s future, but they have the world behind them. Millions of dollars have poured in from individuals and charities and not a single person was extorted to raise the money. This is just another example of how people of good will are more than willing to help others without a government body forcing them to do so, even if it’s for people on the other side of the globe. Thank you to everyone that donated and all the people that helped us spread this fundraiser!

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Voluntaryists Help Hundreds of Needy Children

Many families struggle to merely make ends meet during the holiday season and don’t have anything extra to buy gifts for their children. We at Voluntaryism in Action wanted to help as many children as possible have a magical holiday, so we launched our inaugural Jolly Voluntary Toy Drive. In record time, we were able to raise more than $5,000!

The VIA team reached out to our local communities as well as the VIA Community group on Facebook, and we found several individual families in need whom we were able to directly send gifts to for their children. We used the rest of the money to buy toys for Orchards Children’s Services, an organization that helps foster children find parents in Detroit and Flint Michigan. Once again, we at VIA were able to make a difference in people’s lives—thanks to our generous donors!

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Charitable 8 Year Old Organizes Homeless Care Drive​

Sometimes a story comes along that just gives you hope for the future. This story about little Autumn does just that. Autumn is a eight year old girl who lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her parents and two brothers. She’s a compassionate young girl who’s always uplifting others when they’re in a time of need. Her latest work is a perfect example of living a Voluntaryist principled life. 

Autumn started a campaign to help the homeless in her area. She raised money from family and friends, and then VIA gave her campaign a monetary boost. That was all she needed to make a major impact in her hometown. Autumn was able  to put together and distribute 95 care packages for those in need!

It’s stories of children like Autumn that give us hope for our future. The only way we can make a meaningful impact in our society today is to teach our kids the things that many of us had to learn on our own; that voluntaryism and charity are far more impactful than any legislation Congress could pass.

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The Sweet Taste of Voluntaryism

Without government to force people to pay for welfare programs, would people choose to feed the hungry of their own volition?  If the countless volunteer-run soup kitchens and food pantries around the world aren’t enough to convince you, just look at what Voluntaryism in Action’s inaugural food drive accomplished on nothing but voluntary donations and volunteer work:

  • Over $4,000 in monetary donations raised in less than a week
  • Volunteers used some of these funds to purchase hundreds of pounds of dry goods, 20 turkeys, and 5 hams for Crossroads of Michigan in Detroit
  • Monetary funds were dispersed to various foundations and charitable organizations such as the Byron Saunders Foundation in Ohio, Macon Outreach and Sacred Heart in Georgia 
5 Fix

Most people know what it’s like to go through hard times and not have enough to eat.  The enormous success of our first food drive shows that when given the chance, people will help lift each other out of these situations.  Empathy and compassion are far better motivators than coercion and force.  And just imagine how much more people could afford to give if they weren’t burdened by our current state of excessive taxation?  We are looking forward to seeing what else our community can accomplish going forward as we spread our message of voluntaryism by example! 

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Community Rallies Behind Mass Shooting Victims

On the weekend of August 3rd, 2019, two separate mass shootings rocked the nation and left a combined 31 people killed. These shootings were not simply shocking from the aspect of the loss of life, but that they were two completely separate instances, just hours apart. The first happened in El Paso, TX on August 3rd and left 22 dead, while the second happened later that evening in Dayton, Ohio with 9 losing their lives.

Of course this stirred the usual conversations across social media. The #GunControlNow crowd was out in droves, whilst the #2A army was giving the usual chants of ‘come and take them’. But through all the pandering and blaming of one group of people or another, there was something wonderful happening in the background. A group of strangers banding together to help other people in need.

Voluntaryism In Action started a fundraiser to raise $5,000 on August 4th to help the families of the victims in any way we could. Little did we know what would happen next. In less than 48hrs the VIA Community and the rest of the VIA family was able to not only meet the $5,000 goal, but SURPASSED it by over $1,000!! We were simply blown away by how the VIA Family, as a whole, got the fundraiser and our message across the net in such a short period of time.

This fundraiser was just one more example of how we can be there for each other without the use of some overreaching and coercive government entity. We can lift each other up without any law trying to force us to, while simultaneously creating a middle man between us and the needy. We can be kind, we can be virtuous…we can be the helpers.