On a chilly December night in a restaurant in Williamsburg, one woman said, “I do” — to her neighborhood.
After calling off her wedding only months before the big day, Robin Rodgers decided to throw a party on Sunday to benefit the Greenpoint Reformed Church Hunger Program. Robins sold tickets to the “blessed” event at the restaurant Dressler — and she now feels even closer to the neighborhood she lives in.
“This is not about self-sacrifice, it’s about fun,” said Rodgers, a 40-year-old mother of two. “Doing important things like feeding each other and having fun should not [compete] with each other.”
Fun was the last thing on Rodgers’s mind when she called off the wedding — and coughed up almost $9,000 in deposits for invitations, a dress and the venue.
But when life throws you broken engagements, make lemonade. Rodgers hit the phones and convinced the vendors to allow her to use her deposits to throw a fundraiser for the church’s soup kitchen and food pantry. The vendors, for the most part, agreed.
Making the best out of a bad situation, she said, is what she tries to teach her children, Nicholas, 13, and Dashiell, 7, both from a previous marriage. And Rodgers said she thinks her ex-fiancé would have approved, given that she originally met him during an interview for a story she was writing about non-profit stock markets in May, 2008.
Fellow food pantry volunteer Kevin Dailey praised Rodgers’s innovative idea.
“Nobody likes [breaking up], but I don’t think anything should go to waste like that,” said Dailey, 40, who runs the Brooklyn Kickball league, which is a supporter of the Greenpoint Reformed Church.
“I think all scorned brides should take note of this,” he added.
Rodgers’s party benefited those close to her in the small community of Greenpoint, said Ann Kansfield, co-pastor at the Greenpoint Reformed Church.
“Robin’s act of generosity is going to help her next-door neighbor, the family down the block and the person in the park,” Kansfield said, adding that the soup kitchen serves between 60 and 80 per week during its Wednesday night meals and hands out about 400 bags of groceries every Thursday night. It costs about $6,000 per week to run.
But all the do-gooding talk aside, the event at Dressler was still a wedding party for Rodgers, albeit one with an unconventional groom.
“I think I am officially married to Greenpoint,” she said after a Champagne toast.