Larena Bryant owed about $2,000 in traffic tickets and wasn't sure how she was going to pay them off.
So the parents and staff at Border Star Elementary School took action.
"Ms. Bryant is my daughter's preschool teacher," wrote Taylor Hirth on the GoFundMe page she created last month, titled "Help Our Beloved Teacher."
"For somebody with so much going on behind the scenes, the fact that she always shows up 100% for our kids is a testament to how much she truly cares about them. ... I really feel like helping her get back on solid ground is the least we can do."
Bryant was featured in a May story by The Star that highlighted the disproportionate number of traffic tickets given to Kansas City's black residents.
Though blacks make up only 30 percent of Kansas City's population, they account for nearly 60 percent of the city's tickets.
Over the years, Bryant, who teaches in the before- and after-school preschool program at Border Star, had amassed more than 20 citations for violations not typically associated with bad or dangerous driving.
"Now it's pay this ticket or pay this light bill," she told The Star. "It's pay this ticket or pay this rent. It's adding another bill on top of what I already have."
When the story was published, school staff and parents banded together.
"There's a Facebook group of us parents where we just kind of discuss stuff going on at the school," Hirth says. "And one of the parents threw the idea out there and we were like, totally, we should do it."
So Hirth created the GoFundme account with a goal of $2,000.
"I was worried at the beginning because I follow a lot of GoFundMe's and I often see a lot of minority GoFundMe's that don't always get funded as well as white ones," she says. "So it was shocking to me to see our community come together the way they did."
As of Friday, they had raised $1,916, with about 50 people donating from $7 to $200.
"This just goes to show we never know what struggles people are experiencing behind the scenes," wrote Clarissa Peppers, one of the donors and a mother of one of Bryant's students.
"I'm overwhelmed," Bryant says.
Said Hirth: "I think it says a lot about our community within KC Public Schools and how we really care about the kids and the people that are teaching them.
"We just want her to know that she matters and that we care about her."