MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – It has been an exhausting couple of weeks for people in Texas as a major winter storm left millions of people without power in subfreezing temperatures. Efforts are underway to get the lights back on and get clean drinking water to those who need it.
Chris Wieland is from Murfreesboro and has more than 98,000 followers on TikTok. He joined the social media platform for fun a few months ago. When he saw what was happening in the Lone Star State, he decided to use the app to reach out for help.
Wieland does home maintenance, remodeling and owns a landscaping business. He posted a video asking for monetary donations to help purchase supplies to bring to areas most impacted. In 48 hours, more than $7,000 was raised.
“Everybody on TikTok made this happen,” Wieland said. “I just put a video out and drove the stuff down there. I wish everybody involved could’ve been there. I didn’t want any media attention, I was just going to slip there in the middle of the night.”
He bought as many personal hygiene products, food, water and plumbing supplies as he could. He packed his 16-foot trailer to the roof. The next day, he made the 14-hour drive to the city of Killeen.
“I was having a regret with myself the whole way that I didn’t have a bigger truck or trailer and that I couldn’t take more,” Wieland said. “Through the support of family and a close friend, they really reassured me it was going to be enough for what I could handle.”
Wieland posted several videos along the way to update his followers. He worked with local law enforcement and volunteers to set up a distribution center in a massive parking lot. Within minutes, hundreds upon hundreds of people in need showed up.
“I didn’t come home with one crumb of a bag of chips on my truck,” Wieland said. “Everything right down to the last deodorant, the last toothpaste was gone.”
Wieland said it was an emotional 72-hour journey, but is considering making the drive again in the coming days because the need will grow greater for weeks and months to come.