HOLLAND — What started as a simple walk around downtown Holland for a teacher from Holland Public Schools turned into a fundraising effort to help students and a local business.


Holland Language Academy teacher Christa Holland-Anderson recently raised over $450 through a GoFundMe page to purchase Spanish language books from Reader’s World to start a virtual book club with her students.


“I was out walking at the beginning of all of this,” Holland-Anderson said. “I was thinking about my students, how to reach them, because this was before remote learning was official.


“I walked past Reader’s World — I love them. They’re so fantastic and personal. My heart went out to them. I thought to myself, ‘I wish I had all the money in the world to buy tons of books.’”


That thought sparked an idea for Holland-Anderson to establish a GoFundMe campaign to buy books for her students and support the business. She contacted Reader’s World, who provided some book options and pricing to help shape the campaign.


“The big challenge is finding books in Spanish,” Holland-Anderson said. “They’re not as available and usually are more expensive. Reader’s World was super speedy to provide a list of available options to figure out how much to ask for.”


Within two days, the fundraiser surpassed its goal of $450, raising $490 in total, with many of the donations coming from students and their families.


Holland-Anderson picked up the books Tuesday, May 5, and said she is excited to get the books distributed to students and hopefully start the book club by Monday, May 11.


“We’re hoping to hold the first meeting on Monday and meet with the kids once a week,” she said. “We’ll try to get the books out between (Thursday) and Saturday.


“I’m just super excited about dropping the books off, while maintaining social distancing of course. Even if it’s just at the door, knowing I’ve been by will be nice. I really miss that personal relationship with students.”


Supporting a local business, rather than an online retailer, was an important piece of the initiative as well.


“Living close to downtown and in the city of Holland, I love our downtown and feel a personal relationship with our business owners,” Holland-Anderson said. “It feels like a personal thing as opposed to just putting in an order in somewhere.”


— Contact reporter Mitchell Boatman at mboatman@hollandsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @SentinelMitch.