Two Georgia parents had to act quickly when their daughter called off her wedding just weeks before the ceremony earlier this month, so they decided to donate the already-paid-for reception to the homeless.
Willie and Carol Fowler risked losing their deposits if they canceled the reception — which included food and entertainment for 200 guests at the ritzy Villa Christina in Atlanta. With just 40 days to figure something out, Willie Fowler was suddenly hit with a great idea.
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"We went home that evening and my husband woke up the next morning and I was in the process of cancelling out the venue and he said, 'No, what we'll do is donate it to Hosea Feed the Hungry,'" Carol Fowler told ABC News
. "It was a vision, he said he had prayed on it during the night and God had directed him and that's what we were going to do."
Their daughter had volunteered for the nonprofit Hosea Feed the Hungry when she was younger, so the Fowlers called up and pitched their plan.
"When they first called, the administration thought it was a prank call because it was too good to be true," Quisa Foster, the organization's director, 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."
But this wasn't a joke.
On Sept. 15, Hosea had buses transport 200 homeless women, children, and families to the reception hall where they enjoyed a four-course meal of salmon and chicken.
"When you look at the faces of the women and children and actually participated in the event, they look like you and me," Foster said. "These are working families that for whatever reason — the recession, economic turn — have found themselves in a place where they're without a place to live and starting over. It was a wonderful event. It brought tears to my eyes."
The Fowlers are now trying to make the homeless reception an annual event.
"If you have canceled an event, do not walk away. Pick up the phone and call your favorite charity and offer it to them," Carol Fowler said. "We're regular, working people and anybody can do this. This is not star stuff."
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