by Eun Kyung Kim
Carol and Willie Fowler had planned an elaborate, sophisticated wedding reception for their daughter, only to have it canceled six weeks before the ceremony. So the Atlanta couple turned their heartbreak into an occasion for celebration — throwing a party for more than 200 homeless people instead.
“My husband actually prayed about it,” Carol Fowler said. “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.’”
Fowler said she loved the idea, especially since “we were going to spend this money anyway” with only 40 days left before the Sept. 15 ceremony.
Neither of the Fowlers had worked with “Hosea Feed the Hungry” before but knew about the organization because both of their children — their daughter, Tamara, and their son — had volunteered for the Atlanta-based nonprofit group.
“At first I thought it was a prank call. I thought somebody was joking with us,” recalled Elizabeth Omilami, the charity’s chief executive office.
But she quickly realized that the Fowlers were for real — and started working to meet their wishes of gathering 200 people, preferably women with children, for a full sit-down meal at a swanky local restaurant.
“We didn’t get any cash out of it, but people found out that somebody cares about them and that’s worth more than any cash we could have given them,” she said.
Omilami arranged to have buses transport residents from three area shelters to the restaurant for the afternoon celebration. Guests were greeted with glass tumblers of punch and lemonade and plated hors d’oeuvres of beef tenderloin kabob, coconut shrimp and, for the kids, mac ’n cheese shooters.