MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Carol and Willie Fowler decided that the first-rate meal they had reserved for Sunday, Sept. 15 at upmarket Villa Christina restaurant shouldn’t go to waste — so they invited 200 of the Atlanta’s destitute to join them.
Bosses at Hosea Feed the Hungry charity initially thought the offer to feed their attendees a lavish four-course meal was a practical joke.
But the Fowlers, who have not revealed why daughter Tamara’s nuptials were called off just 40 days beforehand, insisted they were sincere — and the event went ahead, albeit with a new list of invitees.
“It was my husband’s idea,” Mrs. Fowler told WBUR.
“We prayed about it. And when he woke up the next morning, he said, ‘We’re going to call Hosea Feed the Hungry and ask if we can donate it to the needy,'” she added.
Many of the guests were not accustomed to the gold plates and crystal stemware at Villa Christina, nor the formal presentation of the food.
“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?’” said Elisabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed the Hungry. “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.”
All in all, the guests, and even the former bride-to-be ended up having such a good time that the Fowler’s say they plan to host a similar event for the homeless next year
Mrs. Fowler said that Tamara was in attendance and also ended up enjoying herself.
“We’re very pleased that she’s handling it so well. She was delighted to see and know others had an opportunity to enjoy something, rather than allow it to go to waste,” Fowler added.
Willie H. Fowler (center), his daughter Tamara and wife Carol (right) socialize with Elisabeth Omilami during the first annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love at Villa Christina in Atlanta on Sunday, September 15
Omilami hopes that others will learn from the Fowler’s example, and contact charities before letting an opportunity go to waste.
“The event on Sunday demonstrated how as a community when we come together and live in harmony, we can make a difference. Today is an example of harmony. Hosea Feed The Hungry is very thankful to the Fowler Family and their heart for the poor.” Omilami said in a press release. “It is a blessing that this family provided an experience for those who are less fortunate to enjoy an afternoon with their family at one of Atlanta’s premiere wedding venues. We are so thankful for their generosity.”
The family dubbed the meal as “The First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love” and plan to host a similar event, paid for by sponsors, next year.