If we lived in a Frank Capra world, something special would be happening in Little Falls, Minn., right around now.
Alas, we’re not in Frank Capra’s world, and there will be no Christmas dinner at Charlie’s Pizza this year (psst: Hey Little Falls: take the hint!).
Charlie Peterka and his family have been putting on the event since 2011 to honor their daughter, Donna, who died around the holidays.
“We still do it in memory of my daughter. Because rather than sitting around watching crappy commercials … we have something to do. It gives us something to do that day,” Peterka tells the St. Cloud Times.
“It’s not need-based. Whoever’s hungry or lonely can come and eat and have whatever they’d like. And if they’re still hungry, they can have more,” said Peterka.
He also provided about $5,000 worth of presents for those who didn’t have any. So many people showed up, he rented a bus for people to sit in to stay warm until they could get inside his restaurant.
But not this year. Charlie’s in the hospital with some serious health problems. He’s spent about a year in the hospital, the Times says, and isn’t due to get home until January.
“People aren’t going to get anything this year. That’s sad,” a local business owner said. “That just shows you what happens when you got a guy like Charlie, who took it upon himself and said ‘I’m doing this.'”