CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Some have called it the Polar Express come to life –- Hillside Avenue in Charlotte has a pretty spectacular light display.
But the movement behind it is even cooler.
Cars line the street in the Freedom Drive neighborhood each night during the holiday season. There are lights everywhere. Big balls of light that seem to be floating in the sky. A Charlotte mommy blogger called it the best place to take your kids to see the lights -- and the crowds have come.
Mason Schmitt, 16, lives on the street and helped make many of the giant light fixtures. She also realized a pretty neat way she could take advantage of all the traffic.
“I thought since so many people were already coming this way it would be easy to make it a food drive,” she said Christmas Eve, in between accepting donations and strumming on her guitar.
Despite the chill in the air and the damp night, Mason stood under a small tent set up in front of her family's home with her twin sister and parents. Behind them was what looked like a giant gift wrapped present. It’s actually a massive box collecting all of the canned goods that motorists are donating.
A Myers Park High School student, Morgan sang a sweet acoustic version of “Silent Night” to entertain drivers as they stopped by.
“The goal was 2,500 pounds, and then as we got more and more we changed it to 10,000. We’re way above 10,000 now,” she said excitedly.
The whole neighborhood has helped, taking turns manning the drop-off site each night and helping deliver the food to the Loaves and Fishes food pantry.
“People have been really generous and really kind. It’s really nice to see everybody take their part in helping the community,” she said.