Don’t Forget! – Today is launch day over at our new site, Joyful Home & Life. We’d love to have you stop by and celebrate with us!
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Okay, okay, so I know I said just yesterday that all wedding talk would be scheduled for my new series, “Wedding Wednesdays,” and will take place…well…only on Wednesdays. But technically this isn’t about Captain America and my’s big day, it’s about being an inspiration to others, so gimme a little leeway on this one! ;)
This event took place on Sunday, September 15th – the day Captain America and I got married. After going through our own wedding experience, I can honestly say I don’t know how I would have reacted if it had been called off – but I certainly don’t think I would have thought of doing something like this! The Fowler’s generosity, kindness, and selflessness is truly inspiring.
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When Carol and Willie Fowler were informed that their daughter’s wedding had been cancelled a mere 40 days before the event, they didn’t know what to do. The couple had already made the non-refundable payments for the entertainment, the food, and the venue, and now they were going to be stuck paying for them, regardless of the fact that the big day was no longer going to happen.
Instead of letting the bad news get the better of them, however, with their daughter’s permission The Fowler’s decided to turn a difficult personal situation into one that would benefit hundreds of other people – people who know all-too-well what the harsh reality of disappointment is like.
The family, based in Atlanta, says they prayed about what to do for several days, until one morning when Willie woke up and said, “we’re going to call Hosea Feed the Hungry and ask if we can donate it to the needy.”
In a, “great example of how you can turn any bad situation into a positive one” (Yahoo News), Carol and Willie Fowler renamed the special day ‘The First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love,’ and invited 200 homeless individuals and families to what was once planned to be their daughter’s wedding reception. The caterers provided the guests with the same 4-course meal that the wedding guests would have enjoyed, and a clown was hired to entertain the children. (70% of Atlanta’s homeless population are kids). Indeed, it was an event that no one who was present will forget any time soon – but especially not the children, most of whom had likely never seen anything like it before. Not only was it a day of fun, and filling food, but it was also an educational opportunity for the younger ones, says Elizabeth Omilami, head of Hosea Feed the Hungry – “The passed hors d’oeuvre were very interesting because the children were wondering, ‘could we take the whole tray, or do we just take one off of the tray?’…So this was an educational opportunity as well, because now they all know how to eat at a four-course meal and the etiquette involved in that.” According to Mrs. Fowler, “if we’re able just to save one child in that group and have them soar to the heights of corporate America, we will have won.”
Even the Fowler’s daughter, Tamara, attended the festivities. Amidst the roller-coaster of emotions she must have been experiencing, watching other people celebrate what should have been her Wedding Day, she still managed to greet her guests with a smile. As her mother explained, instead of wallowing in anger or sadness, the young woman was “very delighted to see and know that others had an opportunity to enjoy something, rather than just allow it to go to waste.”
In the end, the experience was so positive for both the Fowler family and those who were invited to attend, that they have decided to host another charity event next year. They are already working to find sponsors to make next time even bigger and better than the first. And if there is one message Carol Fowler would like to leave people with, it’s this: “Events are canceled, and sometimes for unknown reasons. Do no allow that opportunity to go to waste. Call up your favorite charity. Give them an opportunity to use that for people that will not have an opportunity, perhaps in life.”
- Family Hosts 200 Homeless People for Dinner After Daughter’s Wedding Gets Called Off – Yahoo News
- Atlanta Wedding Reception Donated to Homeless – Here & Now
- Word Spreads Far Of Canceled Wedding That Fed The Homeless – NPR