Elegant meal, venue donated to homeless after wedding called off in Oxnard

OXNARD, Calif. -- The Ventura County Rescue Mission feeds well over a quarter of a million homeless men, women and children each year.

On any given day or night at the rescue mission, the homeless partake of a meal inside of the dining hall.

Come Saturday night, 150 of the homeless will not be eating at the mission in the dining hall. They will be partaking in an elegant meal in the dining hall at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort in Oxnard.

Why? A father paid thousands for his child's wedding party to dine at the hotel, but the wedding has been called off. Given there was no refund, the father decided to donate the wonderful meal and beautiful venue for the homeless to enjoy.

When asked if he's ever had that happen before, John Saltee with the rescue mission said, "Never. This is a first for us, and they called us and we talked to them on Friday. And then they said we want to provide up to 150 gourmet meals at the Embassy Suites at Mandalay Bay, and all you need to do is get them there."

The mission is scrambling to ensure the transportation for clients like Robert Duncan. Duncan is a Gulf War veteran and plans to put on his best attire for the elegant night out.

"We eat really good here, but we don't get a chance to be able to go out and do something like that," Duncan said. "So for this gentlemen to even think about that I think is outstanding. I don't even know who it is but thank you very much."

The generous father has made it clear he would rather remain anonymous. The folks at the mission cannot thank him enough for turning an unfortunate situation into such a blessing.

"He expressed it this way: He's tipping it or paying it forward," Saltee said. "We told him a lot of these people will never have an opportunity to eat a meal like that at such a fancy restaurant, so he stopped a minute...and he seemed to get a little choked up."

"We really appreciate it," said Jamaal Reily, who is homeless. "[The rescue mission] helps a lot of people. I just want to say thank you for giving back to us."
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