Following the tragic shootings that occurred on March 14th when one man was killed and three others gravely wounded, efforts have been underway to raise money for their medical and living expenses.

There are Go Fund Me pages for all the victims, but it was a Missoula bookstore that’s going out of business that has captured the hearts of Missoula in its fundraising efforts.

Michael Burks, the entrepreneur who owns the Garden of Read’n Christian Bookstore announced recently that due to the rapid expansion of online book sales that he was closing the business, however after the shootings, Burks and his family decided to donate every dollar from the store’s sales to the four families affected by the shootings, and Missoula has responded.

“Right now, we just hit the $40,000 mark,” said Burks on Saturday afternoon. “That includes all sales, as well as all donations. As quickly as we’d like to reduce the inventory, we’d like to prolong this as much as possible to collect as much money as possible. Right now we’re guesstimating that April 15th will be the last day the store is open, but we are going to continue after that if people still want to send in donations then we will absolutely continue to give it to the four families.”

Burks clarified that all funds raised will be split equally between all four families.

“The main point I want to make is that if you want to donate directly to one family, then we’re not the way,” he said. “Every dollar that is being donated is being divided by four. We personally believe that every life is precious and no one life is worth more than another so as far as we’re concerned the families of all four of these victims are all in the same boat, and we want to bless them all equally.”

Burks remarked that the death of his store is helping to bring new life to hurting families.

“The most exciting part of this entire thing is that the entire city of Missoula is talking about the Garden,” he said. “For us, that’s all we ever wanted to happen is that the store would actually reach the entire community. Even though it’s going away, we are so happy that it’s going away in such a dramatic fashion. That the death of the store is going to be remembered more than what it did in the 14 years that we owned it, and quite frankly, I think Somebody Else did that about 2,000 years ago.”

Burks said he prefers this method of fundraising over sites like Go Fund Me, because there are no administrative fees, so every penny of each donation will go straight to the families.

The store is located just off Brooks next to Sign Pro.

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