The California couple raising money to reunite immigrant parents with their children has raised their goal to $25 million. That’s after they raised more than $20 million in just over a week.
“There are truly no words for your generosity, your compassion, and your love for these families,” the fundraiser’s Facebook page said. “The passion and effort you put into this cause will change lives — and will save lives.”
When Dave and Charlotte Willner began their campaign, “Reunite an immigrant parent with their child,” their goal was modest: $1,500 to support the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES.
But within the first couple of days, the campaign was raising $4,000 a minute. It’s now broken Facebook’s record for donations.
RAICES is using the money to provide legal services to separated families, as well as to start a joint reunification fund that will let the group work with other local organizations to make sure the donations reach as many people as possible.
How the campaign began
The campaign began when the Willners saw a viral photo of a 2-year-old girl crying and looking up at adults around her after rafting across the Rio Grande. US Border Patrol Agents in Texas stopped the group, including the girl and her mother. The couple felt compassion for the little girl and wanted to help.
“What started out as a hope to help one person get reunited with their family has turned into a movement that will help countless people,” the Willners said in a statement.
The couple said they will continue to raise money, despite President Donald Trump’s recent reversal on separating families that cross the border.