"It tugged at his heart strings"
While $13,000 may not sound like a lot of money compared to the $20 million raised through one viral Facebook fundraiser — for a 6-year-old, it’s not bad.
When Shannon Cofrin Gaggero talked to her son about ways they could help other children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, he said, “What about a lemonade stand?”
“We were like that’s a great idea, it’s hot as Hades in Atlanta,” Gaggero tells MONEY.
On Sunday, Gaggero’s family and some of their neighbors set up an actual lemonade stand in their hometown of Atlanta to benefit RAICES, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides legal and educational services for immigrants, that raised over $1,000. To raise awareness for Sunday’s lemonade stand, she launched a Facebook fundraising page on June 19, which continued to virtually supplement their in-person fundraiser days after the lemonade stand ended.
At first, Gaggero set a modest goal of $1,000, but within three hours, the online fundraiser hit that goal. Within six days, the family had raised more than $13,000.
Gaggero decided to end the online campaign after hitting $13,000 rather than extending it because she wants the money to start helping the organization as soon as possible (Facebook fundraisers pay out donations every two weeks once the minimum payout amount of $100 is met).
RAICES was also the beneficiary of another viral Facebook fundraiser which began June 16, and the donations have tripled the nonprofit’s budget, according to company executives.
Gaggero says her son feels proud of what they’ve accomplished. And even though he doesn’t quite understand the depth of the family separation issue they are supporting, he still has been affected by the news.
“It tugged at his heart strings,” she says. “For kids, the concept of being separated from your parents is very real and very scary.”