WEST PALM BEACH — A Florida bride-to-be went above and beyond and donated the food from her cancelled wedding reception to help victims of Hurricane Irma.
West Palm Beacher Jessica Jean Williamson was planning to marry Alex Arteaga, on Sep. 9 — just one day before Irma hit the Keys. The couple, which had been together for eight years, were going to tie the knot at a friend’s oceanfront home before 75 of their nearest and dearest.
But Irma had other plans for the young couple.
“We were watching the weather and we found out the weather was going to put a damper on our wedding,” the Williamson said.
The two ended up canceling their wedding and spent that weekend in their boarded-up West Palm Beach home.
But what do you do with all that food?
Nearly two weeks later, Williamson decided to take the taco bar — meant for her wedding reception guests — to those affected in Big Pine Key.
“It felt good bringing people who have been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for over a week some REAL food,” she said. “To see the look on their faces as they lined up for literally anything and got authentic street tacos… this was so worth it.”
Williamson and the man who was to be her fiance’s best man, Dominick Famularo, also teamed up with with a local aid organization Humanity Road, and have been serving the Keys residents who really need help.
“We’ve been serving food and handing out supplies and going around, making sure everyone’s OK,” he said. “Everyone is just happy to be alive, basically.”
The two hope that their trip will encourage others to make the trek as well.
Williamson would like to spend even more time working in the Keys, but is needed in West Palm Beach to take care of her 6-year-old daughter with Arteaga. She said it’s weird to think about rescheduling her wedding anywhere other than the Keys, but she knows it will take time to rebuild.
“It feels selfish,” she explained. “I want to do it, but the Keys is so close to my heart that I think we’d rather wait and help rebuild, and still try to do it here than just move it somewhere else.”
“We’ve been together eight years. What’s another couple of months?” Williamson said.