Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
When news of the migrant children being separated from their parents at the border and held in Texas detention centres broke last week, many people were horrified, but felt like there wasn't much they could do to help. However, this couple decided they had to take action—and their efforts have been rewarded a million-fold.
Dave and Charlotte Willner started a fundraising campaign to raise money for RAICES, a non-profit organization in Texas that provides legal services to immigrant families. Charlotte wrote on the fundraising page that when they saw the heartbreaking photo of the two-year-old Honduran girl crying for her parents who were taken at the border, they saw their own daughter, who is the same age.
When they started the fundraiser less than a week ago, their goal was to raise $1,500 to help reunite at least one family that was separated at the border. Since then they've raised almost $16.7 million! Safe to say, they surpassed their goal—by over a million percent!
The Willners have since reset the goal to $20 million and Facebook has said that this is the biggest fundraiser its ever hosted on its site. In fact, Facebook had to update its fundraising platform when the campaign reached $5 million, because raising that amount was unprecedented.
Jenny Hixon, who is the director of Education, Outreach and Development at RAICES, told TODAY that they were surprised by the outpouring of support."It is fabulous," she said. "The Willners seem as surprised as we are... We can’t thank them enough for their incredible kindness."
We think this is amazing display of how a few people can make such a huge impact. While the Willners obviously didn't supply all that money, them taking the time to start a fundraising campaign in the first place gave room for those donations to be made. President Trump recently signed an executive order to stop the future separation of families, but many are skeptical that families who have already been separated will ever be reunited.
With these funds coming in, RAICES will be able to help those families fight to get their children back. "In the justice system, if you don’t have access to legal representation, you don’t have a shot," Hixon said. "We are going to be able to serve so many unaccompanied kids."