Dream Cruise traffic brings generosity to local teens

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published August 20, 2017

 A sign on Woodward Avenue directs cruisers to a small sale benefiting Mary’s Mantle.

A sign on Woodward Avenue directs cruisers to a small sale benefiting Mary’s Mantle.

Photo by Victoria Mitchell


Fifty cents on a hot and sunny Woodward Dream Cruise day goes pretty far when it’s collected by two young ladies with caring hearts.

Instead of watching all of the action right on Woodward Avenue Aug. 19, Alyssa Whitmore, 13, and Julia Ortel, 12, held a fundraiser in the front yard of the Whitmores’ home just down the street from the revving engines.

An unembellished sign at ground level along Woodward Avenue could almost be missed, but those who found it were directed a short distance down a neighborhood street where Whitmore and Ortel sat at a folding table with two boxes of cookies and a pitcher of lemonade.

Each item cost 50 cents and Whitmore explained that all of the money collected would be going straight to Mary’s Mantle.

Mary’s Mantle is a Catholic residential program for homeless expectant women.

“I wanted to do something for Dream Cruise, and since it’s a busy time with a lot of people, I wanted to do something for Mary’s Mantle,” Whitmore said.

Whitmore first learned of the organization when her Girl Scout Troop made Mother’s Day baskets for the moms.

Although the Shrine Academy eighth-grader isn’t in Girl Scouts anymore, she still wanted to support the cause, so four years ago she came up with the idea to hold a fundraiser in her front yard on Woodward Dream Cruise day.

Alyssa’s mom, Julie Whitmore, said that every year the people who stop by are extremely generous. She also said she is proud of her daughter.

“To not just pocket the money herself, but to give it all away,” Julie said. “And it’s nice that she wants to do it for a charity.”

Alyssa raised quite a bit last year in part due to one person who made a $300 donation for one small cookie.

The teen was then honored by Mary’s Mantle for her efforts.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but I felt happy knowing that something I did was being acknowledged,” Alyssa said.

Both girls were hoping for another monetary boon this year. At about 1:30 p.m. Aug. 19, the girls were more than halfway through the dozens and dozens of cookies they baked and individually wrapped.

Ortel, a seventh-grader at Guardian Angels School in Clawson, was happy to help. Ortel said she helped bake along with manning the table.

“We each made a different kind,” Ortel said, pointing to the chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies.

Julie said people had been very generous again this year.

“Instead of 50 cents, people will give $10 because it is a donation, and so that is nice,” she said.