The Fowler family turned a disappointment into an act of tremendous generosity: when their daughter’s wedding was cancelled 40 days before the event, the reception had already been paid for. Instead of cancelling the event and losing their deposit money, the family decided to invite an entirely different set of guests: 200 homeless women, children, and families.
Willie and Carol Fowler, the bride’s parents, contacted Hosea Feed the Hungry, an organization their daughter has volunteered for in the past, and offered to host 200 guests at Villa Christina, an upscale venue in Atlanta.
“When they first called, the administration thought it was a prank call because it was too good to be true,” Quisa Foster of Hosea Feed the Hungry told ABC News. “It’s a very creme de la creme wedding venue, so to say that you’re going to host 200 homeless individuals at Villa Christina – it sounds like a prank call.”
The 200 guests were brought to the venue on buses. The event offered face-painting and entertainment for children, and a motivational speaker for adults. The Fowlers, who participated in the whole day and greeted all the guests, now hope to create an annual event.
“If you have cancelled an event, do not walk away,” Carol Fowler told ABC News. “Pick up the phone and call your favorite charity and offer it to them. We’re regular, working people and anybody can do this. This is not star stuff.”
The Fowlers have chosen not to disclose why the wedding was cancelled, but I think it goes without saying that no wedding is cancelled without at least some sadness and disappointment involved. It’s inspirational to see a family come together in that moment to create something uplifting and positive out of a cancelled wedding reception.
The Fowlers’ gift is especially touching when you consider that 14 percent of Americans experience food insecurity. The percentage of people who experience food insecurity-not knowing where the next meal will come from-is even higher in Georgia, where the Fowlers live. Nearly a third of children in Georgia live in food-insecure households.
Last week, Congress voted to cut $40 million in food stamp assistance. How will that affect your community? You can take a look at Map the Gap, an interactive tool on the website for Feeding America, to see how many people in your state live with food insecurity.
Even if you don’t have an entire wedding reception to donate, there are many ways that you can make a difference in the lives of American families who are struggling to put food on the table every day.
-By Joslyn Gray