When Hurricane Irma ravaged the Florida Keys earlier this month, the powerful storm destroyed one bride’s picturesque wedding venue. With the celebration on hold, she decided to donate the food prepared for her wedding reception to those reeling from Irma’s wrath.
Jessica Jean Williamson had planned to wed her fiancé on Sept. 9 — one day before Irma made landfall in southern Florida as a major Category 4 hurricane, bringing life-threatening winds and dangerous storm surge. But instead, the couple was forced to cancel their wedding and board up their home in West Palm Beach, where they hunkered down during the storm.
“Yesterday, I put the contents of our wedding into a plastic tub, cancelled all of our honeymoon reservations, and contacted every vendor. I wiped down the calendar and took our Save the Dates off of the fridge. And I cried,” Williamson wrote in a Sept. 7 Facebook post.
When I decided I wanted a taco bar for my wedding reception, I never in a million years imagined I'd be bringing that…
“Then today we got up and put one foot in front of the other,” the 27-year-old bride-to-be continued. “Reminded ourselves that there are much bigger problems out there than ours and sucked it up. We boarded up the house, emptied the shed, gathered our keepsakes and relocated the horses. Checked our homeowners insurance. Picked up water, food and gas.”
After learning that Irma had “completely destroyed” her beachside wedding venue in Marathon, a city in the Florida Keys, Williamson wrote on Facebook that she decided to take the food meant for a taco bar at her reception to those most affected in Big Pine Key, Florida, where she was “welcomed with open arms and teary eyes.”
“When I decided I wanted a taco bar for my wedding reception, I never in a million years imagined I’d be bringing that exact taco bar to the keys… for complete strangers,” Williamson wrote in a Sept. 22 Facebook post.
Posted by Jessica Jean Williamson on Friday, September 22, 2017
“It felt good bringing people who have been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for over a week some REAL food. To see the look on their faces as they lined up for literally anything and got authentic street tacos,” she added. “This was so worth it I’d do it all over again. It wasn’t a wedding reception but we laughed and ate and danced with other humans who needed to be happy.”
Williamson said she hoped sharing her trip will inspire others to donate or volunteer as well.
“The amount of supplies here is amazing. The lack of help is heartbreaking,” she wrote. “If you have any free time at all, get down here!”
The Floridian is now raising money for Humanity Road, a disaster response charity, to continue helping those impacted by the devastating storm.
“And the wedding is totally still on,” she quipped in another Facebook post.