Months before Domitila Vargas’ 100th birthday, her family threw her what they suspected would be her last party. They celebrated at St. Brigid’s Church, and Domitila, who was very religious, announced then that her dying wish was to feed the hundreds of people from her small village in the Dominican Republic after her funeral – obviously, this was not something she came up with on the fly.
DNA Info reports that the mother of 14 was orphaned at 6 and had a rough childhood, but she didn’t let it weigh her down. Instead, Domitila loved helping others. Herman Vargas, her youngest son who is the general manager at Russ & Daughters, said, “The beauty of it is, she knew her time was up.” And her wish gave her family “an opportunity to eat in her memory.”
Domitila ended up passing away nine days before her birthday, but by then, her family had already put their plan into motion. They found a caterer who would make the meal Domitila requested – moro, spaghetti, salad, roast chicken, and coffee.
The matriarch had already saved some money to go toward catering, but one of her granddaughters raised additional funds through a crowdfunding site, and another got some of her co-workers to chip in.
They ended up raising $4,000, which they thought would feed about 500 people. By December 20 – the day after her burial – they exceeded their goal and fed 710 people.
And with her generous final act, Domitila will be remembered in the way she wanted. Her granddaughter Jennifer Vargas, 28, said, “She wanted to be remembered as someone who constantly served, constantly thinking of other people.”
[H/T DNA Info]