Newlyweds Skip Traditional Banquet to Feed Thousands of Refugees
After saying, “I do,” most newlyweds pose for pictures, toast with champagne, and sit down to a luxurious meal with family and friends. Instead of being wined and dined, one couple decided to serve meals to those in need.
Enlisting their friends to dole out dinner from food trucks, Turkish couple Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat celebrated their new life together by dining with 4,000 Syrian refugees. They didn’t just serve the guests—the couple used the money that would have been spent on a traditional banquet dinner to throw a party for a group, The Telegraph reports.
The groom’s father, Ali Üzümcüoğlu, came up with the idea for the selfless wedding event and connected his son and daughter-in-law to aid organization Kimse Yok Mu. “I thought that sharing a big delicious dinner with our family and friends was unnecessary, knowing that there are so many people in need living next door,” he told The Independent.
Next door for the couple is Kilis, Turkey, a southern border town where thousands of Syrians have fled their country’s civil war. More than 4 million men, women, and children have left Syria since the civil war began in 2011, with 1.7 million refugees—half of which are children—living in Turkey, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHRC expects those figures to continue to rise, putting a great strain on already limited resources.
The World Food Program is struggling to keep up and announced in July that it would have to cut refugee food rations because of lack of funds. The agency relies solely on donations and needs $139 million to feed refugees living in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq—and that’s just until the end of September.
One night’s meal might sound like a drop in the bucket for a group in such desperate need of assistance, but the wedding couple’s act has already inspired their guests. Friends told the bride and groom that they hope to host similar events for future wedding celebrations.
As for the newlyweds, they had a great time. “We started our journey to happiness with making others happy,” the groom told The Independent. “And that’s a great feeling.”