There were games, cupcake decorating, laughter, and smiles at Antonio Brown's Harvest Huddle Thanksgiving Holiday Gathering, which was attended by kids who are part of Big Brothers/Big Sisters along with their family or 'big.'
"It's amazing. The city loves the Steelers," said Jan Glick, CEO of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. "Our 'littles' and their matches love the Steelers. The opportunity to meet the Steelers, particularly Antonio Brown, is really exciting."
But there were also tears. Tears of joy from families who gathered together in appreciation for what the evening, and what Big Brothers/Big Sisters has meant in their life.
"This is wonderful," said Nyheima Heard, there with her daughter Jahane Harris, and Harris' 'big' Susan Stauber. "A lot of people don't get the chance to do these types of events."
Heard stopped, her voice cracking, and as hard as she tried, she couldn't hold the tears back. Because she has a deep seeded appreciation for Big Brothers/Big Sisters for helping to turn her daughter's life around at a time when she was withdrawn because of circumstances around her.
"Big Brothers/Big Sisters is awesome to me," said Heard. "It came at a time in our family where there was death due to violence. This lady (Stauber) wouldn't give up on my child. She wouldn't give up on her. She wouldn't talk. She helped bring her out of her shell to the fine young lady she is ready to graduate from high school.
"And tonight is so special. We are getting beautiful memories here tonight. I love that Antonio did this. People are so kind and give back to the community for people like us that still need help."
Brown hosted the event to bring the group together as one, to be able to enjoy some fun with him and teammate Shakim Phillips, and to give back at a time of year when many can use a helping hand. He provided dinner at the event, but also every family left with all of the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner and a gift card to purchase their turkey.
Antonio Brown and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh team up to provide local kids and families with food, fun, and some help for the upcoming holidays.
"Anytime you get the opportunity to make a difference, get in the community and give back of your time and spend it with those who are excited, it's always a good time. It's a special thing," said Brown. "I want to inspire them and let them know wherever you are in life and whatever you are going through, you have to stay positive to work towards things no matter how hard things get.
"I am thankful to be in a position to be a leader, to be able to do these things for kids who look up to us. To have kids excited to meet me is humbling and an honor. Any time I have a chance to give back, it's always a good time. I wanted to give them the chance to have something special for what is a great holiday."
He gave them a lot more than that. He gave of himself, something that won't be forgotten by anyone attending.
"At the end of the day to be able to walk away with food for Thanksgiving is amazing," said Glick. "It takes the pressure off the families, trying to make a nice holiday.
"At Big Brothers/Big Sisters we talk about time, talent and treasure. To give your time is one of the most valuable things. The fact that Antonio is willing to come here is a very kind thing to do."