Tom Hanks Day 2011
International Tom Hanks Day took place on Saturday (26.03.11), to raise money for Lifeline Energy.
People around the world paid homage to the 'Forrest Gump' actor with screenings of his films, printing T-shirts and, in Chicago, US - where the idea was originated - a raffle of autographed memorabilia.
The star himself has been involved with the event for the last four years, donating personal effects to be auctioned and promising to match donations made to the charity Lifeline Energy, which works to improves the quality of the lives of vulnerable populations through dependable and environmentally friendly technologies.
Tom Hanks Day was established by Kevin Turk, who admits it wasn't originally a serious event, but just him and his friends printing T-shirts of their favourite star.
He told CNN: ''It literally started as a joke. But all of a sudden people were calling and emailing and said they wanted a shirt.''
Tom Hanks day went to the next level in 2007, however, when Kevin received a hand-typed note from the star.
It read: ''Dear Kevin Turk and the Assembled: You people have all either lost your minds or your jobs. Both?''
Accompanying the letter was a set of autographed posters, waffle irons from Tom's film 'The Ladykillers' and green baseball jerseys.
Other memorabilia he has sent for auction has included his ''favourite bologna recipe, with 20-pound logs of bologna and the recipe of how to fry it, three minutes on either side.''
Tom Hanks day raised $1,265 in 2010, but will hopefully increase donations this year, after the actor agreed to match all sums up to a value of $10,000 given to Lifeline from the Chicago area.
When asked why he picked Tom Hanks in particular, Kevin explained: ''He's just a genuine person and it certainly comes off in his movies and interviews. Our goal is that everybody feels good about it and that's why Tom Hanks Day works.''