Going Home for the Holidays is Easier for Many, Thanks to Southwest Airlines and UNCF Washington

Many UNCF students and their families struggle to put together scholarships, family savings and part-time jobs to cover tuition, books, dorm rooms or off-campus housing and meals. But they run into problems when the semester ends or holiday time comes. They’d like to go home for the holidays—but their budget won’t cover a $400 plane ticket and their schedule won’t accommodate an 11-15-hour bus trip.

So, UNCF Washington reached out to a partner, Southwest Airlines. Southwest had a history of supporting UNCF in the Washington metropolitan area. They were an underwriter of UNCF Washington’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration, and they were a Mayor’s Royal Court sponsor of UNCF Washington’s Mayor’s Masked Ball.

Southwest had just the thing: an in-kind gift of vouchers for travel on Southwest over 200 miles from home. Volunteers from DC-area churches that support UNCF-Washington’s Faith Campaign pitched in by selecting individuals from their congregation and community that would benefit from the vouchers.

Ticket voucher recipients were happy and grateful to have some family time before graduating from college and starting a career perhaps even further from home than college.  “I’m very excited that I get to travel to finally spend time with my brother,” wrote one student. “It means everything to me that we get to spend the holidays together.”

“Not only have you provided me with a ticket home, but you have also provided me with the opportunity to see my family,” another student wrote. “This is such a giving act and this letter cannot articulate how grateful I am.”