(WJBK) - Blaze Pizza is more than just a restaurant -- for many workers, it's an extended family. So when one of them is hurting, they all are.
"I've never worked for a company that was so interested truly or generous with the people that work for them at all levels," said Darla Bowen, Blaze Midwest marketing director. "When we found out about Charles and his niece, it's such a tragedy that we wanted to whatever we possibly could."
Charles, an employee at the company's Royal Oak location, lost his 3-year-old niece on Easter Sunday morning on Detroit's west side. Anaiya Montgomery was killed when someone barged into a home on Riverview and opened fire. She was sleeping next to her mother at the time.
The 3-year-old was shot twice. She was transported to Sinai Grace Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Bowen said when she told her boss, who is part owner of the Blaze restaurants, what happened to Charles, her boss wanted to gather some money to help the family.
They collected $1,000 and gave 20 percent of the proceeds from Sunday's sales at all three Metro Detroit Blaze Pizza restaurants to Montgomery's family to help cover the toddler's funeral expenses.
"We do a lot of fundraisers to help a lot of different causes, this one just happens to be under some unfortunate circumstances," Bowen said.
The circumstances have also provoked peace walks and rallies. While the two arrests in the case brought some relief, the reality of a life without Montgomery will never get easier. Fundraisers like this will at least give her loved ones one less thing to worry about.
"Our heart goes out to the family of this little girl," Bowen said.
To help out Montgomery's family, you can stop by one of the three Blaze Pizza locations in Royal Oak, Novi or Allen Park on Sunday. The Novi and Allen Park locations are open until 11 p.m., and the Royal Oak spot is open until midnight.