Turkish newlyweds Fethullah Uzumcuoglu and Esra Polat decided to skip the usual wedding reception and spend their big day, still dressed tux and bridal gown, distributing food to starving Syrian refugees.
“The idea came from the groom’s father, who volunteers for a Turkish relief organization called Kimse Yok Mu (KYM),” explains the Daily Beast. “For the past few years, KYM has distributed daily meals to the thousands of impoverished Syrians who’ve flooded across the nearby border. He approached a representative of the organization and proposed that the family would cover part of the costs of feeding refugees for the day (the family did not want to reveal the exact cost).”
The groom was said to be quickly won over by this idea, while the bride is delicately described as being “really shocked” at first, since “you can imagine, as a bride, you wouldn’t think about this – it’s all about you and your groom,” in the words of KYM international communications manager Hatice Avci.
Avci went on to praise the southeastern Turkish culture of “sharing with people in need,” saying “they love to share their food, their table, everything they have.”
The refugee situation in the border town of Kilis is astounding — it’s a city of 108,000 currently hosting 123,000 Syrian refugees, with construction of a new camp recently announced by the Turkish government.
Avci described the couple as pleased with their decision to feed the hungry in lieu of a conventional wedding feast, and hopeful that others may follow their example. She said the groom told her “the best moment of his wedding was when they had the food distribution.”