Roseville resident Olivia Morgan, 10, stops by the Athena Banquet Center on Gratiot Avenue Dec. 12 to donate to Dominic’s Christmas Wish. The nonprofit hosted a drive-thru donation event due to COVID-19.

Roseville resident Olivia Morgan, 10, stops by the Athena Banquet Center on Gratiot Avenue Dec. 12 to donate to Dominic’s Christmas Wish. The nonprofit hosted a drive-thru donation event due to COVID-19.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Roseville charity hosts drive-thru collection for children in need

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 16, 2020

 Dominic Miller, the 11-year-old founder of Dominic’s Christmas Wish, gets some help from the den leader of his Cub Scout troop, Chantuay McCoy, of Mount Clemens, during the event.

Dominic Miller, the 11-year-old founder of Dominic’s Christmas Wish, gets some help from the den leader of his Cub Scout troop, Chantuay McCoy, of Mount Clemens, during the event.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Lesa Miller, of Eastpointe, Dominic’s aunt, volunteers at the drive-thru donation event Dec. 12.

Lesa Miller, of Eastpointe, Dominic’s aunt, volunteers at the drive-thru donation event Dec. 12.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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ROSEVILLE — For eight years Dominic’s Christmas Wish has helped make the holidays a little happier by collecting books, pajamas and toys for kids staying in shelters and for other aid organizations.

It was started by 11-year-old Dominic Miller, who was inspired to help children after his family suffered through troubled times of their own.

“Dominic collects books and pajamas for homeless shelters in Macomb County,” said Dominic’s aunt, Lesa Miller. “It’s his eighth season doing it, and every year we try to make it bigger and better than the year before. He wants to help so many kids in the community each time he does this. Last year he set his goal (for 2020) at 4,002 kids, not knowing we would be dealing with a pandemic. But we are here still getting donations every day through the mail or through the drop-off locations.”

Dominic’s Christmas Wish has since teamed up with other members of the community to grow his mission.

“Dominic came to the chamber’s attention two years ago, and he was nominated for Citizen of the Year, and the chamber was very impressed with his heart,” said Sandra Maki, the events coordinator for the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce. “So for the last two years, we’ve been helping with Dominic’s Christmas Wish.”

Dominic’s goal was made more difficult this year due to COVID-19, but the chamber stepped in to help him set up a drive-thru collection Dec. 12 at Athena’s Banquet Center in Roseville.

“This year, because of COVID-19, his donations were down and we decided to do this drive-thru event to try and boost those donations,” explained Maki. “It’s very easy, we’re being COVID safe, we’re all wearing masks and staying separate. People can just drive up and hand us their pajamas, books and toys. The chamber also is giving every driver a thank-you card from a chamber member, which includes things such as free delivery service to 20% off a meal as a thank-you for contributing to Dominic.”

Youil Ishmail, the owner of Athena Banquet Center, said he was happy to provide a place to host the collection, since he has seen how roughly the pandemic has hit people.

“We’ve had to be closed due to coronavirus, so we wanted to do something to help kids with what they’re going through. It’s a time to help everybody,” he remarked. “We hope everything will be OK with the kids with all of this going on. We all have to help each other survive, and kids most of all.”

Maki said they were eager to continue to aid Dominic’s mission because it has a direct impact on the local community.

“This is local to our hometown. We’re the chamber of commerce for Eastpointe, Roseville and Fraser, and Dominic lives in Eastpointe and goes to school in Fraser, and the shelters he helps are right here in our hometowns,” she said. “It’s immediate access to helping the children in these shelters.”

She added that the pandemic has made giving to those in need all the more important.

“The world is still going forward,” said Maki. “Giving is still very much needed. Our chamber is still here to not only support our businesses, but our community as well.”

Hundreds of items were donated that will go directly to children in the Macomb County area, and many in the community volunteered their time to help in the collection.

“We have help today from Dominic’s friends from his Cub Scout pack, we have help from chamber members, and we’re being hosted by Athena’s Banquet Hall in Roseville,” said Maki. “It’s people coming together to make sure people get help during the holidays.”

Collections were to wrap up by Dec. 16, after press time, so they could be delivered to kids by Christmas. Dominic’s Christmas Wish does collections year-round, however, so those wishing to contribute can still do so by mailing them to 15325 Evergreen Ave., Eastpointe, MI 48021 or dropping them off at that location.

“We want to help out everybody and anybody who needs the help,” said Lesa Miller. “Dominic is the sort of child who wants to help and better the community. His motto is that he just wants to help one child at a time.”

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