Through the last couple of months, I have been encouraging (aka pushing annoyingly HARD) my brides to use their wedding day to empower others, and my goal is to show them how easy this can be if they take simple steps.
A week after Valentine's, Sandrachile's team photographed their first 2017 couple, Sharon & Quinn, who gladly accepted my idea to donate their leftovers to homeless people.
This required a little more logistics than I anticipated because this is sorta illegal (for the potential food poisoning hazard that presents itself if the food is not handled properly), but after reading the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act of 1996 I was clear that nothing was gonna stop me, so I proceeded to move forward with the plan.
The first one on board was the couple's wedding planner Devoted To You Events, luckily Melissa (the owner) and I share the same tender heart, and she helped me to organize this from her coordination standpoint, and was able to get Sarah the venue's representative (Clear Story Studio) on board.
I was a nervous wreck when I had to approach their caterer, JPC Event Group, but Rick was actually happy that we were doing this and right away said "we'll help!".
Although my goal was to inconvenience them as little as possible, and I wanted to pack the food myself, at the end of the wedding, Caitlyn, Joanna and Rhon, graciously did all the packing work for us, and we ended up with SEVENTEEN containers with delicious, fancy gourmet wedding food, a treat for those living in the streets
At the end of the night, around 11PM, we had been working for 12 hours, and we were tired, but I was anxious to go deliver meals. We drove around for like an hour, all over South Side and Pittsburgh's downtown, without finding anyone, until I ran into Mark.
- Sandra: Excuse me, would you like some food?
- Mark: What you got?
- Sandra (opens the box): it comes from a wedding, and it's really good
- Mark: Holy cow! YEAH! That looks amazing!
- Sandra: Here friend, it's all yours.
I explained to Mark that Sharon and Quinn had just gotten married, and they had donated some of the food to people living in the streets, and that I was just the middle man delivering it. Then I asked him where the rest of the homeless people was, and he pointed me to some locations, but he suggested I would come back in the morning because at night he said, it was "rough".
I asked him if I could take a cellphone selfie, and he said "but only if you give me a hug", and of course, I was down.
And THEN we reported back to the bride...
When I came home, I was still left with 16 boxes of food, so I accommodated them in my fridge and the next morning we went back to the location Mark had suggested the night before.
This time, I talked to a guy who did not give me his name and although friendly, and grateful, preferred not have his picture taken because (believe it or not) he has a job.
He was just arriving from his night shift job, and was about to go to bed (I actually woke him up), but instructed us to leave the food in a specific area, and said he will distribute it later among the people who had already left for the morning, but comes back for lunch.
Through this post I want to publicly acknowledge the couple,
Sharon and Quinn
for hiring me and for their generous spirit that allowed this to be possible.
I also want to thank the wedding vendors mentioned above, who collaborated with me.
Thank you for rolling with me, instead of rolling eyes at me.
Thank you to my husband/assistant Nick, Caroline Moore my second shooter, and to Joanna Moore whom I mentored that weekend, who learned that wedding photography is more than just photography.
Finally, don't wait for an opportunity to do good, but make an opportunity of even the smallest events,
Be inspired to change the world with your wedding day
Published in the Huffington Post
Dedicated to Danielle Calhoun, the most badass wedding changer ever.