EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Dominic Burns helps out at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry Tuesday at Resurrection Parish in Menominee. Dominic, 8, donated the $85 he got for his birthday to the pantry.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

Dominic Burns helps out at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry Tuesday at Resurrection Parish in Menominee. Dominic, 8, donated the $85 he got for his birthday to the pantry.

MENOMINEE — A few months ago, Dominic Burns of Peshtigo turned 8 years old. While most other 8-year-olds would ask for toys or games for their birthdays, Dominic wanted to do something a little different. He decided to take the $85 he received for his birthday and donate it all to the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry in Menominee.

Dominic’s mom, Stephanie Coakley, said the inspiration for her son to donate came from a friend of his. “His friend did something similar and asked for donations for his birthday earlier in the year,” Coakley said. “When it came to his birthday, we were talking about how he has so many toys, so is there maybe another idea that he had.”

“This year I want to donate my money to poor people,” Dominic said. Coakley said she thought that was a great idea, so they took it from there.

She said when they sent the invites to Dominic’s friends, Coakley texted the parents and told them her son wanted to donate to charity for his birthday this year, and they’d be happy if the other kids and parents would help out. “Sure enough, they all showed up with enveloped of money,” he said.

Dominic said he was very happy when he saw that his friends were all supporting him. The same could be said for the workers at the pantry. When Dominic went to the pantry and told people there he wanted to donate his birthday money, “They were very happy and very surprised,” he said.

Coakley said her mother helped them decide on where her son would donate his money. “She donates here, and we try to keep everything local,” she said.

Dominic guessed that the money he donated would allow the pantry to buy enough food for two families, maybe more, for about a month or so.

“The fact that it came from another friend helped,” Coakley said, “It helped him feel like, ‘Okay, I don’t need more stuff,’ and I feel really proud that he wanted to do it, and it was important that he came here to see where that was going.”

In response to Dominic’s donation, all of the volunteers at the pantry wrote him a thank-you card. According to Coakley, there wasn’t a single white space anywhere on the card because of all the signatures of volunteers thanking her son for his generosity. “That’s when it felt like, this is a big moment for him,” she said.

Dominic said he would definitely be continuing his birthday donations when he turns 9 next year, and wants to inspire his other friends to do the same.