Members of the community, Dave & Buster’s employees and Make-A-Wish Foundation representatives attended a fundraising event at Dave & Buster’s Aug. 20 to replace money that had been stolen from the foundation. Make-A-Wish accepted a $500 check Aug. 15 from Michigan Insurance and Financial to help cover the funds.

Members of the community, Dave & Buster’s employees and Make-A-Wish Foundation representatives attended a fundraising event at Dave & Buster’s Aug. 20 to replace money that had been stolen from the foundation. Make-A-Wish accepted a $500 check Aug. 15 from Michigan Insurance and Financial to help cover the funds.

Photo provided by Bryan Ede


After theft, community raises money for Make-A-Wish

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 26, 2019

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UTICA — The Utica community recently came together to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation after donations were stolen during a break-in at Dave & Buster’s in Utica Aug. 14.

A burglar broke into Dave & Buster’s at approximately 4 a.m. Aug. 14 and caused thousands of dollars in damage with a sledgehammer while breaking into an ATM and a video game machine that benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The burglar took all of the donations.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a nonprofit organization that creates life-changing wishes for children who have critical illnesses and who are between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18.

Upon learning of the theft of the donations, community members put a plan into action to help the foundation.

Bryan Ede, a Utica resident and business owner, asked the Utica Dave & Buster’s store manager how much had been taken and gathered funds to donate to the foundation. Ede donated $500 toward the lost funds.

“After the break-in incident at Dave & Buster’s, myself, owner of Michigan Insurance and Financial, stepped up after calling and finding out that there was $200-$700 in the Make-A-Wish machine that was taken. Michigan Insurance and Financial shorted up the $500; along with our donations, they raised about $2,000 prior to a fundraising event,” he said.

After the theft, during a special meeting at Utica City Hall, the city proclaimed Aug. 20 Make-A-Wish Day in Utica.

The day is expected to grow into something each year.

“We’re going to make it bigger and bigger in Utica. We’re going to do something at their facility every year. That’s what we’re shooting for next year. Make it a big thing, a big to-do,” said Ede.

Dave & Buster’s also hosted an event to help the foundation make up for the loss.

On Aug. 20, Dave & Buster’s held a fundraiser at its location. A portion of the proceeds from 4 to 7 p.m. went to Make-A-Wish.

Christy Schulte, the communications and public relations manager for Make-A-Wish Michigan, attended the event and was amazed at how the Utica community came together to help.

“I attended the Make-A-Wish Day event at Dave & Buster’s yesterday. We were disappointed to receive the news of the break-in, but it has been truly incredible to see the Utica community come together to rally for good,” Schulte said in an email. “Dave & Buster’s hosted more than 15 wish families yesterday for a fun evening of games as they fundraised for Make-A-Wish Michigan. Between the mayor declaring a proclamation of Make-A-Wish Day in Utica to the Utica Police Department coming out for the wish kids to check out their cards to local Utica businesses making donations, we are deeply grateful for the amount of support we have received this past week.”

“In total, they have raised approximately $4,000! Jonah Long, the Utica Dave & Buster’s store manager, estimates that they raised approximately $1,000 between 4 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday,” she said.

The community found a way to make an unfortunate event a much more positive one.

“It was a great turnout. Glad to see everyone step up to the plate and turn a bad event into a great event,” said Ede.

For more information, visit wish.org.

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