Blog: Social Media & Tornado Relief

Dale Blasingame

By Dale Blasingame | KSAT

Dale Blasingame

SAN ANTONIO — Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said social media manage to amaze me on a daily basis? Today was one of those days that showed the true power of social media – not as platforms to post pictures or talk with friends, but to help people going through an unimaginable tragedy.Let me backtrack a bit and explain.

Wheelie Gourmet Truck to the rescue!

Around 1pm yesterday, I retweeted a message that two San Antonio food trucks, Tin Can Tacos and Wheelie Gourmet, were headed to Oklahoma and Missouri to cook for tornado victims. The companies were doing this out of their own pockets, and my friend Krys from was helping gather donations to offset some of the costs.

No fewer than a few minutes later, Krys sent me a message on Twitter asking if Champion AC, one of my clients, would like to sponsor the trip. Champion’s general manager quickly jumped in to help. We donated $500 and challenged other small businesses to match or beat our donation.

Tin Can Tacos trailer

I didn’t quite realize the magnitude of this little mission quite yet, though. Over the next few hours, thanks to many messages on Twitter and a few phone calls, we (by “we” I mean Krys) managed to organize a donation drive to help these two food trucks feed the tornado victims. Two television stations (including KSAT) noticed the talk on Twitter and went out to interview Tin Can Tacos and Wheelie Gourmet at the Boardwalk on Bulverde. Sammis and Ochoa, a San Antonio public relations firm, made phone calls and emailed radio stations to get people on the air. Yelp created an event page to let people know where to donate online (where donations are still gladly being accepted). A company donated propane tanks. Several other companies matched or beat the small business challenge we presented. Olmos Perk offered to host the donation drive and give free coffee to anyone who gave money. The Art Shack offered art classes to people who donated a certain amount. Blogs were written to spread the word.

All that happened in two or three hours. It truly was a team effort for a great cause.

Please be clear, I’m not writing this to pat our group on the back. It does, however, show how a handful of people, a good idea and the proper social media tools can result in a lot of good for the community.

I realize a few meals are not going to make the tornado victims’ homes or loved ones return. What it does, though, is maybe put a smile on their faces or take their minds off of reality, even if just for a few minutes.

Standing there at Olmos Perk today and hearing all the amazing stories of people who were donating money was truly humbling. Krys nearly broke down in tears a few times. I wasn’t far behind. Everyone had a different story – from the woman whose family lived through Hurricane Katrina and wanted to help any way she could to the young mom who brought her little daughters in to drop off a few dollars. There is no other way to describe it. It was awesome.

Thank you San Antonio for making this happen. This city is ALWAYS ready to help people in need. That was never more evident than the past 24 hours, thanks to a little organizing done via social media.

In less than one day, we raised several thousand dollars. Any money above and beyond the needs of the mission will be donated to help people get back on their feet.

Several thousand dollars. Less than 24 hours.Think about that for a second. And again, I offer a humble thank you to the people of San Antonio.