Canceled Wedding Reception Is Turned Into 4-Course Meal for Homeless

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A family that had to call off a wedding salvaged its spending by donating the space and food to hundreds of homeless people.

A family whose daughter canceled her Atlanta wedding with just a month’s notice decided to make the most of things — by donating the already-paid-for reception to hundreds of people they didn’t know.

They transferred everything — the venue, food and entertainment — to a nonprofit that helps the homeless, ABC News says. The nonprofit thought it was a bad joke at first.

“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 of Hosea Feed the Hungry told ABC News. But Willie and Carol Fowler were serious. Two hundred guests got a four-course meal that included coconut shrimp and salmon, and chicken fingers for dozens of kids, Newser says. The Fowlers hope to make it an annual event.

The homeless there and elsewhere could certainly use more food. Georgia has the seventh-highest (eighth if you include Washington, D.C.) rate of food stamp use in the country, at 20.1 percent, Stateline says.

And some states are planning cuts to the program, eliminating help to tens of thousands of people. They include:

  • Delaware
  • Kansas
  • New Hampshire
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming

Those states are permitting the expiration of federal waivers that “allow unemployed, non-elderly and able-bodied adults without children to remain on food stamps despite failing to meet certain work requirements,” Stateline says. Until 2013, nearly every state was taking advantage of those waivers.

Now, Republicans in the states mentioned above would rather see the money spent on job training and placement programs, Stateline says.

Even without any action, benefits are set to fall: Federal stimulus money being used to support food stamp benefits will stop flowing on Nov. 1.

And while it’s not likely to pass Congress, the Republican-led House voted to cut $39 billion from the food stamp program — called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP — over 10 years, USA Today says. That bill would cut off 3 million more people and reduce benefits for nearly another million.

The cost of the program has grown tremendously over the past decade. “By June of this year, there were 47.8 million people enrolled in the program, and annual costs were about $75 billion,” the newspaper says, up from 17 million people and $15 billion in 2001.

That may sound like a lot of money. It’s not for the people on the receiving end. “Last year, average food stamp benefits were $4.45 a day,” The New York Times says. “Almost two-thirds of SNAP beneficiaries are children, the elderly or the disabled.”

Stacy Johnson

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