At least once or twice a year, most of us are able to spend time with our loved ones - reconnect, share, laugh with grandparents, siblings, children, aunts & uncles, cousins, parents, and good friends. During holidays, special occasions or in times of sickness & need, we have the resources to visit the people who are most important to us.
Unfortunately, for many low wage workers often residing thousands upon thousands of miles from the people they love, its not so easy to see each other.
When low income families are struggling to pay the rent and buy food, spending money on a plane ticket is simply an impossibility. Countless families spend too many years apart - unable to travel due to finances, which is often made more difficult by restrictive immigration policies.
Hello Vuelo uses crowdfunding & airline miles donations (minimum 10,000 miles) to purchase flights to reunite low income families. We connect families & friends who want to give with families & friends who are in need of support.
"Vuelo" means flight in Spanish and so our project - Hello Vuelo - means a flight to say hello to loved ones and reunite.
While working as a dishwasher at Capital Grille earning $8.75 an hour I was barely making ends meet but somehow managing to send at least a little money back to Guatemala to my family. I eat simply, I can’t afford to go out much and have fun, I can’t just walk into a store and get a new outfit. I have to watch every penny. Since I have been living basically paycheck-to-paycheck for 8 years I haven’t even been able to think about going back to Guatemala to see my father, brother, and nephew & niece. Where would the money come from? Going back to Guatemala sounds like a dream, it is not something I thought I’d be able to do. READ MORE. . .
FLIGHT CREW: The Kaza-Reddy Family
PARTNER ORGANIZATION: The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago
In 2007, my mom was driving me to my high school lacrosse practice. Suddenly, the police pulled us over for no reason and my mom was detained for driving without a license. She was taken to the local jail and after seeing that she had no legal status in the United States they placed an immigration hold on her case. She was then transferred to the Broward Transitional Center, a private detention center, where she was held for over four months and eventually deported to Colombia. My mother was forced to leave behind her husband and three daughters. READ MORE. . .
FLIGHT CREW: The Chen Sisters
PARTNER ORGANIZATION: United We Dream
I am 22 years old and I was conceived in the Dominican Republic but born in Brooklyn, New York. My mom was seven months pregnant with me when she boarded an airplane in 1991 with my older sister and came to live in the states. I have never met my father and the main reason for that is because things have always been financially hard for my mom as a single parent and she was unable to send us to the DR. Me and my sisters have seen her struggle to raise us, working multiple jobs, dealing with disrespectful people while she worked as a waitress for over a decade. READ MORE. . .
FLIGHT CREW: Dena & Shana Simmons
PARTNER ORGANIZATION: Make the Road New York
It's been two years since my undocumented parents returned to Mexico, unable to come back to the US, and almost 9 years without seeing my brother who remained in my native country. Two years where my parents missed my high school graduation and many important moments for me. There have been times when I wanted to hear my mother say, "My son, here am I, your mother." I only have few memories with my mom during the time we spent together for 7 years of my entire life. Not because she had not wanted to be there for me, but because she had an obligation to work and support us. READ MORE. . .
FLIGHT CREW: The De Castro-Lee Family
PARTNER ORGANIZATION: Make the Road New York
Established community & legal aid organizations such as Make the Road New York nominate low wage workers or their family members - we call them "Travelers" - for free trips through Hello Vuelo.
We work with community organizations so they can vet individual’s stories and ensure that they are in need of support. Travelers are from low income families with a joint family income of $40,000 or less (for family of four) and generally fall into the following categories:
there is a sudden health issue in the family and a low income family member cannot afford a trip to visit
there is a milestone event coming up (birth of a child, wedding, funeral) and the low income family member cannot afford to attend
These nominated low wage workers or their family members go up on our website with their profile and pictures so people can read their stories. For each Traveler, we recruit a primary fundraiser - their "Flight Crew" - who will take the lead in fundraising for the trip but allow any person to donate miles (minimum one way flight) or money to any trip.
If you would like to be a lead fundraiser for a trip, please contact us at email@example.com
At this point, donations are not tax deductible - if the project goes well, we will take the steps secure non-profit status.
Hello Vuelo is a volunteer run project - 100% of all donations go directly towards trips for low income families. We are a small group of people who believe low wages should not keep families apart and wanted to do something about it.
Time of Day Media - a social justice media cooperative based - provides media support for this project.
Hello Vuelo works with amazing partner groups organizing low income communities for fair economic and immigration policies. These are a few of the organizations we are working with:
Make the Road New York builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services.
The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women.
Are you an organization that works with low wage workers and/or low income families? Do you have members who are unable to see their loved ones due to finances? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org