(CNN)It all began with a DM.
Laura Ciervo, a preschool and elementary school-based speech language pathologist in New Jersey, had created an Amazon wish list of school supplies for the upcoming year.
While many schools opted to continue distance learning amid a pandemic, Ciervo's school reopened its doors. That meant Ciervo needed to reinvest in supplies for her classroom. She normally dishes out her own money on them. But with the pandemic, that would mean spending way more than usual, because children are no longer able to share supplies.
She knew she needed some help -- so she decided to randomly reach out to one of her favorite celebrities on Instagram -- comedian Erin Foster -- to see if she'd respond.
Much to her surprise, Foster, who has more than half a million followers, replied to the direct message -- and was happy to help. She shared Ciervo's list on her Instagram on August 18.
"If you have a big following, you have an opportunity, not an obligation, but an opportunity to do something important with it where you can," Foster told CNN. "If you overwhelm people with too much they won't want to help because it loses its effect. You have to be selective so that people pay attention to it."