VENTURA COUNTY

Father of Bride's Curse Becomes Rescue Mission's Blessing

A hotel in Oxnard was supposed to be the perfect place for a wedding this Saturday, but when that wedding at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach was called off, the bride was not only left with heartache, but also a big bill.

The $8,000 deposit for a dinner reception for 150 people was non refundable. That's when the bride's father called the Ventura County Rescue Mission and Lighthouse.

"He said, 'I'd hate for this to go to waste when there are so many people who are really hungry,'" said John Saltee, the director of the Ventura County Rescue Mission. "So he asked us, is there any way you can get 150 men, women and children from here to Mandalay Bay Embassy Suites?"

This weekend men, women and children who are homeless and/or struggling with addiction will enjoy the elaborate dinner created for the canceled wedding.

The generosity and thoughtfulness of the would be bride and her family is not lost on the homeless who will be there Saturday night.

"They can't believe someone would be that generous and some have never experienced this kind of meal," said Saltee. "I think they're going to be in awe."

Danny White, a Rescue Mission resident, is looking forward to it.

"I've got a suit and tie and some stuff in the closet," he said. "So I'll see what I can pull out and dress up pretty nice."

White helps prepare the daily meals served at the mission as part of his work therapy program, but on Saturday, professional chefs at the Embassy Suites will cook for him.

"I felt bad at first that the wedding was called off," he said. "That's a lot of money going down the drain but when they thought to call us and offer it to us, it's amazing. It's a blessing."

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