Facebook group helps Darlington tornado victims

Darlington, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - It is easy to see that the cleanup and repair process continues more than two weeks after a tornado tore through Darlington County.

That recovery process is being aided by some simple personal connections that were made on the Internet.

Buffy Asaro lives just miles from where the tornado did some of the worst damage. Just hours after it passed through, she found herself on the web and decided to start a Facebook group to help the victims of the tornado.

The group page provided a way for people to share needs and for others to respond with help, and that is exactly what happened. Asaro was able to use the page to coordinate drop-off sites for donations, and when she told group members one couple needed a place to stay, people wrote back offering help.

Then Asaro heard about Vickie Lunnon whose kitchen roof was destroyed when a tree fell on it.

"We lost all our food, and for eight days we didn't have any lights whatsoever because the meter box blew with the storm and we had to have the house rewired and everything," Lunnon said.

Once Asaro posted that information, people responded almost immediately.

"I posted her email and within minutes I had people offering deer meat," Asaro said. "I had a lady offer a $100 gift card. People wanted her address to send her money in the mail.

"It was humbling to watch the people help. As soon as I would post a need, people were jumping on wanting to help that person. It's been a great experience."

Lunnon said she is not sure what she would have done without Asaro's help. She said she is amazed by how a little bit of effort by Asaro made such a big difference for her.

"That little bit of help, it was like a million dollars came into my house," Lunnon said. "Buffy...I just don't know what to say about this. Oh, she's beautiful."

Asaro said she will continue running the Facebook group page as long as people use it. She is thinking about changing it to an ongoing page for people with all kinds of needs in the county.

Asaro said she hopes the page will continue to be a source of inspiration. She said she has already been moved by the sense of community it has created.

"Without the people responding and the prayers it wouldn't have happened," Asaro said. "I just happen to be the person God spoke to."

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