(The Root) — Carol and Willie Fowler had reservations for 200 at the high-end fine-dining Italian restaurant and special-event space Villa Christina in their hometown of Atlanta. The dinner was originally intended to celebrate the wedding of their daughter, Tamara, but 40 days before the planned nuptials, Tamara told them the wedding was off, leaving them with an expensive, four-course meal still on the calendar. But instead of canceling the festivities, the Fowlers turned the wedding into a celebration of a different kind of love: choosing to donate the dinner to a local charity, Hosea Feed the Hungry.
Elizabeth Omilami, director of Hosea Feed the Hungry, did not believe the Fowlers’ request at first. “We thought it was a prank call,” she told the the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In an interview with WBUR, Omilami said they focused the dinner on children, with the purpose of not only feeding them but also teaching them etiquette. “The passed hors d‘oeuvres were very interesting because the children were wondering, ‘Could we take the whole tray, or do we just take one off of the tray?‘ “ Omilami said. “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.“ Thirty women from the Mary Hall Freedom House, an Atlanta Treatment Center, were also in attendance.
As for the now no-longer bride-to-be, she, too, attended the lavish affair that was orginally intended for her, and according to her mother, who also spoke to WBUR, she did so in high spirits. “We’re very pleased that she’s handling it so well. She 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.”