KILLEEN, Texas — A Tennessee man leveraged his TikTok following to raise more than $7,000 in aid for Texans recovering from last week’s devastating winter storm and then drove 14 hours to deliver the donations in person.
“I started seeing a lot of the people down here in the Killeen area that were going without and what they were going through, so I reached out to my followers on TikTok,” Chris Wieland told KXXV, admitting he expected to raise a couple of hundred dollars that he intended to match.
Within six hours, however, Wieland’s 98,000 followers had contributed more than $4,000, and the figure continued to climb.
In turn, Wieland made the 14-hour trek from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to deliver food and water to the Killeen Special Events Center and, with the help Killeen native and Lampasas County resident Luis Gonzales, help distribute eggs, water and other food to residents in need, the Killeen Daily Herald reported.
Wieland told the newspaper that he also had Walmart gift cards to distribute and, as the owner of a landscaping and home maintenance business, that he brought PVC pipe for residents who need plumbing repairs after last week’s single-digit temperatures.
“All I did was drive this stuff. It’s all the people on TikTok that made all this happen,” Wieland told KXXV.
He did note, however, that Killeen was not selected at random to receive the donated supplies but rather because of an old friend who once called the city home.
“He served in the military out here, and he took his life a few years ago. I’ve never been able to give him anything back or (to) his community or his family,” Wieland told KXXV, adding, “It does make me feel good, but at the same time, it’s finally giving me a little bit of closure.”
Cox Media Group