Eleven-year-old Curt Pearson was excited about volunteering at the fourth annual Charlie Brown Thanksgiving event on Friday.
“I like helping kids,” he said.
His job was to hand out popcorn, jellybeans, pretzels and other treats for the more than 200 children and parents who came out to enjoy a screening of the popular holiday favorite “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” and to collect jars of peanut butter for the East Texas Food Bank. This was the first year for the event, which has been held at the Discovery Science Place and the East Texas Food Bank in years past, to take place at The Market at the Crossing, a shopping center in south Tyler.
The feast, based on the popular holiday favorite “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” featured goodies such as jelly beans, pretzels, popcorn, toast, ice cream and drinks — all of the items brought by the children for their Thanksgiving dinner in the movie. LT24 launched the event in 2010 to raise awareness and food donations for the East Texas Food Bank.
“It was my idea from when I was 4 years old,” Curt said, adding that the tradition started as a backyard neighborhood gathering about two years before he and his family, which includes younger brother Luke, had moved to Tyler from Beaumont.
“This has been a great event to not only bring in food donations for the needy but raise awareness of the East Texas Food Bank, which plays such a critical role in reducing hunger in the region,” said Brian Pearson, an LT24 member and Tyler Morning Telegraph managing editor. “It also shows children that Thanksgiving is not so much about the kind of food you eat but more about people coming together to feed the spirit of giving and celebrate their loved ones, friendships and blessings. It’s such a joyful thing to see this wonderful event enter its fourth year.”
Amy Pearson, mother to Curt and Luke said she was especially happy for her boys to see the event evolve from “something fun to something that can benefit the community.”
Amanda Martin, a 31-year-old stay-at-home mom from Whitehouse, sat at one of the outdoor tables enjoying some of the treats with her five children, who ranged in age from 3 to 11.
“I think it’s great — I used to watch Charlie Brown as a kid,” she said.
And Jana Greene, 35, also a stay-at-home mom from Tyler, sat feeding her 9 month-old son in his stroller while her two older children enjoyed the feast nearby.
“It’s a great way to bring the community together,” Ms. Greene said.
Both expect to come back next year.
“It’s a great opportunity to share this holiday classic with the kids, teach them the meaning of Thanksgiving and the importance of sharing with the less fortunate,” East Texas Food Bank Executive Director Dennis Cullinane said.
The sponsors were: Brookshire Grocery Co., Popcorn Junction, Jason’s Deli, Sweet Gourmet, the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Market at the Crossing.
The East Texas Food Bank distributes more than 17 million pounds of food each year to more than 200 partner agencies in 26 East Texas counties.
The agency’s vision is to reduce hunger by providing food, support and education to those in need with passion and efficiency.