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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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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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