HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A Midstate social media influencer is using her social media platform to help teachers get their classrooms ready for the new year by sharing their Amazon wish lists with her followers.
Over the last year and a half, Amanda Matta has built up over 800,000 followers on TikTok. When she realized how many teachers needed help, she called on her online community to help teachers from across the country and in the Midstate.
Since Matta started working on helping teachers in July, going through her Instagram messages and adding to a growing Google Doc of wish lists has almost become a part-time job.
“It’s 26 pages right now actually,” she said. “The other night it took me about three hours.”
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Spending a lot of time online isn’t new for her. Matta posts almost daily on TikTok, after one of her first videos in spring 2021 about the British royal family went viral.
“It is now nearing, I think, 5 million views,” Matta said.
As her following grew, she started hearing from a few teachers, who sent her their Amazon wish lists for their classrooms. These were supplies they didn’t have funding for unless they spent their own money, something Matta said she knows a lot of teachers do.
“The trickle turned into a flood,” Matta said of the requests to share wish lists. “I said, ‘OK, let’s make this an ongoing project.'”
Matta called on her online community, taking a break from the royals to give teachers some love.
“Let’s do our part and clear some of these lists for teachers to have a great school year,” she said in her TikTok video, using the hashtag #ClearTheList.
Matta created the Google Doc to keep the wish lists teachers sent her in one place. The lists kept pouring in, coming from teachers all over the country. Matta said she even got lists from teachers in Canada and Mexico.
“Every time I get a new list, I’ll put it at the top,” she said.
Matta shares the link to the Google Doc frequently on social media, trying to make it easy to access on both Instagram and TikTok. On the Google Doc, people can search by state or by grade to find teachers they want to support.
“You just click on the link, and it takes you right to Amazon,” she said.
For Matta, this issue is personal.
“My mom was a teacher 20 years ago. I remember her trying to buy pencils and crayons and tissues for her classroom,” Matta said. She said knowing this is still something teachers deal with, “honestly it made me kind of mad.”
She said sharing these wish lists is her way of giving back, and it is working.
“Teachers have been sending me pictures and messages with photos of Amazon boxes piled on their porch,” she said. Matta said some lists cleared in less than 24 hours. She hopes this shows people there is a way to make a difference.
“It is so easy to help make a student’s day better, a teacher’s year better just by sending something,” she said.
Matta said this is not going to stop once the school year starts. She is still getting lists from teachers across the country.
To view the document of all the wish lists from teachers, click here.