Marriage Party for the Homeless


Willie Fowler talks to Elisabeth Omilami (in yellow dress), with his daughter Tamara (in red dress), and wife, Carol (in blue dress), at the Fowler Family Celebration of Love.
Photo by Jonathan Phillips via AJC

When their daughter’s wedding was cancelled, the Fowler family decided to have a different kind of celebration. Liz Waid and Ryan Geertsma look at their unusual decision.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Imagine that you are planning to get married. You have a date set for the marriage. You have special wedding clothes. You have planned a big party. You have already chosen special food. You have invited all of your friends and family to celebrate with you. And then, something changed. You decided not to get married. Or, the person you planned to marry decided not to marry you. What would you do about the party? Would you cancel it?

Voice 2 

This is what happened to the Fowler family of Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. However, they decided not to cancel the party. Instead, they turned a sad situation into a happy event. Today’s Spotlight is on the Fowler family, and their unusual decision.

Voice 1 

Carol and Willie Fowler’s daughter was engaged to be married. They were planning to celebrate the wedding with 200 people. They organized a big meal at a restaurant. The party cost a lot of money. And the Fowlers had already paid for the celebration.

Voice 2 

But then, 40 days before the wedding, plans changed. The Fowler’s daughter ended her relationship. She decided not to get married. Carol Fowler was going to cancel the party at the restaurant. But her husband Willie had a different idea. He wanted to share their meal with homeless people in their city - very poor people who did not have homes. Carol Fowler told ABC News,

Voice 3

“My husband prayed about it. The next morning I was in the process of cancelling the restaurant. I was going to let them know that we had no use for it. But my husband said, ‘No, we are going to call “Hosea Feed the Hungry.” We will have them bring in homeless people from the shelters.’ I immediately looked up the organization’s telephone number and called. I spoke with Mrs. Elisabeth Omilami. And in doing so, we worked together. And it was such a wonderful feeling just to partner with them.”

Voice 1 

“Hosea Feed the Hungry” is named after a prophet from the Christian Bible. Hosea was a holy man. He said that God would have mercy on people. He promised that God would save people from their suffering. The organization “Hosea Feed the Hungry” tries to do this as well. Their aim is to help the poorest people in the city of Atlanta. They provide food and supplies to people who cannot buy them. They especially work with people who do not have a home to live in.

Voice 2 

Homelessness is a large problem in Atlanta. Every night, more than 10,000 people in Atlanta do not have a home to sleep in. Most of these people are women and children. Working to prevent and solve homelessness is a difficult job for the organizations in Atlanta. Many people give money, and supplies, to help “Hosea Feed the Hungry.” But the Fowler’s were offering a very different kind of gift! Elisabeth Omilami is the CEO of “Hosea Feed the Hungry”. She was very surprised at the Fowler’s invitation. She told the radio show “Here and Now”:

Voice 4 

“At first, I thought it was a joke because it was such an amazing offering. Carol Fowler said she wanted to give special attention to women and families. 70% of the homeless in Atlanta are children. And so we had a chance to go to all the shelters for people with no homes. We called them all. We said: the Fowler family is going to have a party for you! Then they said: what do you mean? Then we said: it is just for you. There is no cost. All you have to do is get there.”

Voice 1 

At a homeless shelter people are given food and a place to sleep. They are not usually invited to a big party! But this day was different. Homeless people came on big buses from shelters around the city of Atlanta. They enjoyed a large meal, with special food. The Fowlers also organized special entertainment, such as singing and dancing. Together, they listened to some encouraging words from speakers. On the radio program “Here and Now”, Elizabeth Omilami said what a good experience it was:

Voice 4 

"The event on Sunday demonstrated how, as community, we can make a difference. We can come together and live in harmony. Today is an example of harmony. “Hosea Feed The Hungry” is very thankful to the Fowler Family and their heart for the poor. It is a blessing that this family provided an experience for those who have less resources. They enjoyed an afternoon with their families at one of Atlanta's top wedding locations. We are so thankful for the Fowler’s generosity."

Voice 2 

Everyone who attended the event had a great experience. Even the Fowler’s daughter came. This was supposed to be her wedding party. Instead she enjoyed herself with many new people. The Fowler family was very happy that they decided to share their party. On the “Tom Joyner Morning Show”, Carol Fowler said what made the day so wonderful for her:

Voice 3 

“It is so fulfilling to see the faces showing excitement and the enjoyment, especially the faces of the children. It is a feeling that you cannot get from receiving. Giving is far more special. And sharing the love.”

Voice 1 

The Fowlers enjoyed this celebration with the community. They even decided to have another dinner the next year! They named it the “Fowler Family Celebration of Love”. Omilami explains this name:

Voice 4 

“I got that from Mr. Fowler. It was his 70th birthday. He could have had his own birthday party. But he got up and he talked about what it meant to be a real man. And he talked about supporting the community, as a real man. And after I heard him speak, I realized that this was a celebration of love between Carol and Willie and the Fowler family. But it also celebrated their love for poor people.”

Voice 2 

The Fowler family turned sadness into joy. They were able to share their marriage celebration. And the guests enjoyed it too. Mr. Willie Fowler says that makes his family happy. He explained in a press release that all people will share with each other in this way:

Voice 5 

"We, people all around the world, are one family. We were created by one parent - God. We should be about aiding, supporting and protecting one another."

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Rena Dam. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Marriage Party for the Homeless.’

Voice 2 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What would you do if your wedding party was cancelled?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on January 24, 2014

This event. really was the unique, unusual celebration of fellow feeling and love. The collective party made Fowler’s family happy as well as all the community of homeless people too. The Fowlers were able to change sadness into joy in a wonderful, individual way.
Thanks for a great article!

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QuangTrang
said on January 25, 2014

I wish I can do as Fowler family, but I don’t want to stop a wedding party when it was planned. Giving the wedding party to those who have homeless. That is the good act and the Lord will bless to those who do as Fowler family, the sadness will become the joy, I think so.

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Skender
said on January 25, 2014

I have seen a lot of movies related with this kind of scenario: A marriage that is broken in the church or several days before the weeding day. I wonder myself why it happen? It would be better if a couple decide to break up in advance and not after the weeding day is planed, the food is ready, or the couple is taking oath befor a priest. If you don’t love your partner it is less painful if you declare this face to face and not in church where a lot of people assemble to celebrate the ceremony.

Thank you spotlight,
Skender

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thanhdung07121985@gmail.com
said on February 27, 2015

That’s great and meaning party for poor people who suffer and face from starvation daily.Thank for Fowler’s family’s mercy and kind so much

Nhat Lee's avatar
Nhat Lee
said on May 11, 2015

Eventhough my listening skill is still not good, I really like the voices from two speakers. Their voices are very clear and attracted. Generally, I feel so lucky when I found out this website to practice English. Thank you so much.

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jmaia
said on May 12, 2015

I think it was a good idea to provide a very happy day to hungry people.

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kenhieuloilam
said on May 16, 2015

In the life we wish to become good persons. We wish to live a beautiful good life. We may be hard to get food everyday. We may be hard to get essential things in the life. We wish happiness. When we live our lives in fullness we have happiness in fullness. When we live our lives in lack we have happiness in lack. We wish to be physically and spiritually full enough. We wish not to be hungry and thirsty. Doing beautiful good things brings us joys. Becoming good persons brings us great joys. We experience difficulties. Spirit helps us live. When we experience difficulties we wish peace.

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Backscorpion
said on May 19, 2015

If their daughter’s wedding part had not be cancelled, maybe they would not have had a chance to help the homeless people. Of course, the homeless people would be so happy when were attened a agreat event. But I think Fowler’s family thank them for joining in the party because they helped Fowler’s family to able to turn a sad situation into a joyful event.  A beautiful action made a wonderful world.

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horizon
said on June 04, 2015

thank you so much. my writting skill is bad but i want to write something. if my wedding party was cancelled, i would be a sad people. maybe i think it is the thing awful with me. i wish i could do as the Flowler Family. what a beautiful action!!

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ManMN3003
said on January 08, 2017

The wedding party is really a special event. If mine was cancelled, i would be very sad. But sharing this party to the poors is great idea. It would make me and other people feel happy. I think not only in this case, we should celebrate parties to help the homelessness about food and shelters.