If you think transforming life’s lemons into lemonade is an inspiring feat,
imagine converting an abandoned wedding reception into a joyous—and charitable—celebration.
That’s exactly what Carol and Bill Fowler of Atlanta managed to accomplish last month, after their daughter’s wedding was cancelled six weeks shy of the meticulously planned ceremony.
“My husband actually prayed about it,” Carol Fowler recalls. “The next morning he woke, I was in the process of canceling the venue, letting them know that we had no use for it, and he said, ‘No, we’re going to call Hosea Feed the Hungry and have them round up people from the shelters.'”
The Fowlers’ children had volunteered with Hosea Feed the Hungry, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that works to bolster families in need, so they knew it was just the place to turn for assistance.
Carol was crazy about the idea. After all, she says, “We were going to spend this money anyway!”
When the couple called Hosea Feed the Hungry, proposing an elaborate party for local homeless families, the organization was skeptical.
“At first I thought it was a prank call. I thought somebody was joking with us,” admits Elizabeth Omilami, Hosea’s chief executive officer.
But the Fowlers and Omilami wasted no time gathering a guest list of 200 people, most of them women with children, for an afternoon meal at Villa Christina, an upscale local restaurant.
Omilami arranged bus transport from three area shelters to the restaurant, where attendees were treated to fabulous food and lots of kid-friendly entertainment courtesy of a clown, juggler, and face painter.
The whole Fowler family attended the celebration as well. “The feeling was one you cannot explain, to see the faces and hear their thank yous,” Carol commented. “[Our daughter] was also very delighted to see and know that others had an opportunity to enjoy something, rather than just allow it to go to waste.”
Julie Bilecky, sales and marketing director of Villa Christina, said, “Carol and Bill did a phenomenal job of giving back to the community. It could have been difficult situation, but everyone worked together to make it a different kind of party. It was fabulous.”
The event, which has become known as “The First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love,” was such a sweet success that the Fowlers hope to hold a similar affair year after year.
Carol credits divine intervention for the advent of a new Atlanta tradition. “We feel that this is something that God would like us to do because obviously, we did not set out to do this.”