If you notice a small bookshelf inside a business near you, chances are a local 5-year-old entrepreneur could be behind it.
Tyler Stallings and his mother have partnered with businesses across the area to distribute donated books. The two also wrote one together to help homeless veterans.
When WUSA9 caught up with Tyler, he was restocking books on a small,colorful shelf in the corner of Studio Styles Salon in Annapolis. It was the first place he donated a bookshelf to.The 5-year-old loves to read and has donated thousands of books with the help of grants and organizations.
"I think it's fantastic," said Lorraine Thomas, a retired educator who frequently picks up books for her 6-year-old great granddaughter at the salon.
"Things like this should be everywhere for kids and adults."
Tyler is not your ordinary kid. He spends a lot of time thinking about ways to help others, especially the elderly and veterans. His father, grandfather and uncle are all veterans.
The 5-year-old boy wrote a book with his mother called, " Tyler Goes Around the World" and uses the proceeds to buy goods for homeless vets. He got the idea after seeing a homeschool video about struggling veterans and that got him really upset. He wanted to do something right away.
"Nobody deserves to be kicked out on the street after being in the military," said Tyler, who asked his mother to take him somewhere to buy lumber and nails.
Since building homes was not financially possible, Tyler and his mother decided to start a Give Back to Veterans Campaign. They used donations and a grant to make hundreds of hygiene kits. The products were donated to the Armed Forces Retirement Home in D.C. and to the Patriot House transitional home for homeless male veterans in Anne Arundel County.
To raise additional funding, Tyler used to dress up as a superhero, stop by businesses and explain his mission in hopes of support.
To date, he has raised over $5,500 and does not plan to stop any time soon. Tyler and his mother plan to release a bilingual coloring book called, "Tyler Learns Spanish." They are also in the process of getting a Give Back to Veterans non-profit started to support homeless veterans year-round.
"Every single book that Tyler sells, he's committed to giving a portion of the proceeds to veterans," said Andrea Blackstone, Tyler's mother.
"He saves his money so sometimes he doesn't buy anything right away."
If you would like to support the cause, you can purchase the book on the his website here. Proceeds from apparel will also go to veterans' needs.