As the holidays approach, depression is often rampant. To help combat this, Kezmond Pugh is renting an entire theater for a free movie screening of “The Grinch” open to all who are …
As the holidays approach, depression is often rampant. To help combat this, Kezmond Pugh is renting an entire theater for a free movie screening of “The Grinch” open to all who are interested in attending Saturday, Dec. 15.
The 33-year-old Cleveland native is a Bradley Central alumni and M&M Mars employee with a big heart (in contrast to the eponymous subject of the holiday classic being screened this year).
Explaining his renting out a theater at AMC Bradley Square 12 at the mall , Pugh said he sees the pain many people are in this time of year — much of it due to unnecessary stress over not being able to afford gifts — and wishes to give them a respite from it all.
“Last year we showed ‘The Star,' and I have to give a big shout-out to the theater’s manager, Anaka, because she and her staff are wonderful and help us bring this event to Cleveland seamlessly,” Pugh said.
Families are invited through Facebook and text. Pugh hopes people who attend will see the kindness he’s shown to them and pass it on through acts of kindness of their own.
The free event includes free popcorn and drinks to accompany the family outing.
Pugh enjoys volunteer work, and has worked with The Salvation Army and United Way of the Ocoee Region in the past.
A child of a single-parent household, Pugh said he had groups such as these pour into him as a young man. Now as an adult, he wants to do the same for other families.
“I am who I am today because of groups pouring back into the community,” he said. “It’s just small acts of kindness that can change people.”
This is the second year he has rented out a theater to show a free film. Last year’s movie attracted 125 people, and Pugh hopes to attract just as many, if not more, this year.
He originally debated between showing “The Grinch” or “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” but decided on “The Grinch,” as it features more colorful characters and is meant for all ages.
Prior to the new movie theater rental tradition, he would often host an angel tree or post on his Facebook asking if anyone knew a family struggling at Christmas. He’d then go “buy their Christmas.” While he still expects to continue doing these charitable acts, he is excited about the free movie screening.
For those interested in attending, a special line will be set up before the movie and Pugh and his team will be greeting guests as they enter. This event is open to the public, and if Pugh spies a family entering that’s not in his line, he said he’ll often approach them and invite them to see their featured movie for free.
“Last year’s movie, ‘The Star,’ let kids see the birth of Jesus, which is very important to me, but just to hear from people how much they appreciate it and how they couldn’t afford to come any other time really made me feel like I was doing the right thing, and I hope these people will continue this by showing kindness to others,” he said.
Pugh is hoping to partner with other community organizations to, in the future, bring more events like this to Cleveland at different times of the year.
To contact Pugh with questions, contact him via his Facebook or send him an email at email@example.com.
The movie begins at 11 a.m., and runs for approximately 86 minutes. The event is held at the AMC Bradley Square 12 theater, at 200 Paul Huff Parkway.
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