Parents Donate Wedding Reception to Homeless After Daughter Backs Out

Carol Fowler says she was fully prepared to lose the deposits she and her husband Willie put down on a lavish reception for their daughter's abruptly cancelled wedding.

"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 told ABCNews.com.

A representative for the Atlanta-based nonprofit said the administration thought it was being led on when Carol and Willie first called to say they were giving away the reception.

"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," Quisa Foster said.

But the Fowlers weren't kidding around.

A short while later the couple met up with Elizabeth Omilami, head of Hosea, to coordinate the event, which involved busing some 200 homeless men, women, and children to the reception hall for a four course meal complete with plenty of entertaining activities for the young and old alike.

"The children had chicken fingers, French fries, fresh fruit and chocolate chip cookies," Carol recalled. "The adults had salmon and chicken."

Though the family wouldn't say what caused their daughter to call off the wedding, Carol did tell WBUR's Here & Now that Tamara was "very delighted to see and know that others had an opportunity to enjoy something, rather than just allow it to go to waste."

Foster also noted that the experience of seeing all the empty plates was "eye-opening" for her.

"You go to weddings sometimes and you see a lot of people really waste food," she said. "We take so many things for granted. These clients or guests, as we call them, they don't."

Carol and Willie are now looking to turn this one-off event — dubbed "The Fowler Family Celebration of Love" — into an annual thing, and hope to get some sponsors aboard for next year.

"If you have cancelled an event, do not walk away. Pick up the phone and call your favorite charity and offer it to them," Carol told ABC News. "We're regular, working people and anybody can do this. This is not star stuff."

Parents Donate Wedding Reception to Homeless After Daughter Backs Out

[photos via Hosea Feed the Homeless, Instagram]