If you’ve been online for any amount of time I’m sure you’ve been told the power of Facebook and why you should be using it to grow your business and connect with people. I have been using Facebook and Twitter myself for the past several years to market my business and I have always understood the benefit, and it has been one of the core reasons I have been able to grow my business to the successful point it is now. But this weekend I learned to have a completely new appreciation for social media and the power it has to touch people’s lives and bring a greater good to the world! It was a beautiful thing and it has changed the way I look at many things … one being the impact we can make in this world using the power of social media.
This weekend I had the honor of helping collect and deliver donations for people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Since the storm I had been trying to find different ways to help … the stories I kept hearing broke my heart. But I’m sure like a lot of other people I felt like there was only so much I could do … I mean really what could little old me do to really make an impact … I live over 3 hours from there, I didn’t have anyone real close to me that lived there to have a direct connection with someone I could help personally, I donated some money but it just didn’t feel like I was doing enough. It was something that was frustrating to me … I wanted to help as much as possible but to be honest with you I felt a little helpless.
But then … the true power of social media started to do it’s magic …
Like most of you, I have many connections I have made over the past few years on Facebook to people who I have actually never met in person, we have had small talk on social media … I have “liked” their posts, I have commented on their funny pictures, but had I really gotten to know them and appreciate the “real” people they are in their everyday life?? I don’t know … Human nature says probably no I haven’t. But after this weekend I can honestly say I will be truly appreciating every last single one of those connections and the true beauty that has to effect other people’s lives if we use it to it’s full potential.
How it all came together
My journey started with reading a post from one of my “Facebook Friends” and her daily mission to help the people affected by the storm. Her name is Eluise and (unlike me) she has a very close connection to many people who have been affected by the storm. She grew up right in the middle of one of the worst hit places and still has family and friends that live there and were directly impacted by the storm. The stories she shared were heart breaking and the mission she is on to try to help every last one of them is inspiring to say the least. She lives in Florida now, so she does not live close to where the storm hit at all … But that has not stopped her one bit … she is making a real impact for many lives, helping new people daily getting them the things they need … and all by using the power of Facebook. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and it truly shows that we are not helpless in these types of situations … we just need to figure out the right tools to use to make the best impact we can!
The same day I talked with Eluise a friend of mine contacted me and said she was putting together a donation drive to collect things for Hurricane Victims at the place that she worked called “Child’s Play By The Bay”. My friend and I had talked a few days earlier about wanting to try to find a way to help and I was telling her all about Eluise and the great things she was doing connecting people in need with people who wanted to help … so then things started to come together and the Love and Compassion of many people and the beauty of social media all started to click and great things began to happened!
We got the truck together, we made a plan, we spread the word on social media to tell people where they could drop off donations, and Eluise connected us with the right people who truly needed the donations, and the journey began. Thanks to the exposure we got on social media and some local advertising … we filled up the truck completely! It was so awesome to see the generosity of our local community!
Don’t Call Them “Victims” … that term does not fit any of the people I met
Before I went on the trip to NY, all week I kept hearing news reports and a lot of people calling the people affected by the storm “victims” … but after meeting some of them I just need to say … I would never think to call them victims ever again. That term just does not fit any of the people I met this weekend. They are strong loving people working hard to help each other get through a really rough time .. but victims … no not at all. Every person I met was doing what they could to help someone else … they had all been through a lot them selves. They stayed during the storm and saw the surge race through their community, they had 6 feet of water in their buildings and debris everywhere, some of their loved ones have lost everything but the clothes on their backs, some still don’t have electric or heat, stores still aren’t open (2 weeks later) because they were all flooded too … there is not much good you can say about the situation … it is a tough one and will be for quite some time. But the people I met didn’t talk about all that very much … they talked about how these donations were going to help so many other people and how Thankful they were to get help for their community. They plan to keep helping as long as it is needed and they truly appreciated all the help being sent their way. (But much more help is needed!)
The help of social media didn’t stop there
When we were getting ready to leave and the truck had been unloaded and we were saying our good byes … I asked “Do you think this truck load of stuff will go quick?” And they said “This was one of the bigger donations they had received so far … but that yes it would all probably be gone by the end of the day. Once we get it organized we will post it on Facebook that people can come to get the things they need at 3:00 and that will be it!”
And that’s exactly what happened … on our drive home I checked Facebook, I saw the post that they had shared with people to let them know the donations were there … and by the time we got home to Delaware … I had a message that a lot of people had come and been able to get what they need and that their community really appreciated it! Wow … that was quick … and that is awesome!! That’s the beauty of Facebook and it’s power to connect people!!
What can you do to help?
Even though this was a great success and a lot of people were helped … the need is so much bigger then this one little trip can do. When we were leaving NY we saw several places that had 100’s of people standing in line waiting for donations, the destruction is unbelievable in scale, and the need is greater then any one person can fill. But … it is not a helpless situation … there are things you can do … even on a small scale it is helpful … even if you help just one person … it is worth the effort. Love and Compassion can never be measured by the amount you can give … it is only measured in how you touch someone’s heart … that is a beautiful thing and I am so glad I got to witness so much of that this weekend and that I got to be a part of it.
If you would like to find out ways you can help someone affected by Hurricane Sandy visit https://www.facebook.com/TheSwflReliefAlliance to get connected with my friend Eluise! Every little bit will help!
The Marketing Momma