An Illinois couple who canceled their original wedding plans amid the pandemic donated the catering deposit to feed 200 people living with mental illness on Thanksgiving.
Couple cancel wedding reception and donate catering deposit to feed others on Thanksgiving
With the pandemic restrictions scuppering their original wedding plans, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis tied the knot at a scaled down ceremony at Chicago’s city hall last month instead. However, there was still the matter of their $5,000 nonrefundable catering deposit. The thoughtful newlyweds decided to turn it into 200 Thanksgiving dinners for people living with mental illness.
“This just seemed like a good way to make the best of a bad situation,” Bugg, 33, an outreach worker at Thresholds, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions, told The Washington Post.
Couple cancel wedding, turn $5K deposit to meals for charity on Thanksgiving
Emily Bugg, 33, and Billy Lewis, 34, had originally planned to tie the knot at a funky warehouse in the West Town neighborhood, bringing in 150 guests from across the country, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.
However, it soon became evident those plans weren’t happening, given the COVID-19 restrictions. “It just didn’t feel like it was in the cards,” Bugg, 33, told the outlet.
The couple ultimately decided they’d rather get married now than wait for the ongoing pandemic to subside, The Washington Post reported.
“We had come to a place where we had some big decisions to make,” Lewis told the paper. “We decided to just go ahead and get on with our lives.”
The pair got married at Chicago’s City Hall on Oct. 1 — but ensured their wedding savings were put to good use. Continued below…
Bugg, along with some co-workers, also personally delivered the food
Bugg works as an outreach worker at the non-profit Thresholds, which helps those with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions. Due to the pandemic, the organisation could not hold its usual Thanksgiving gatherings for its clients, the Sun-Times reported.
So Emily and her now-husband persuaded their caterer, Big Delicious Planet, to use their $5,000 deposit to package Thanksgiving meals for 200 clients — including turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce, according to the report.
Bugg, along with some co-workers, also personally delivered the food.
“She took what could have been a really sad situation for herself, her husband and her family and she turned it into something magical and beautiful,” Bugg’s boss and Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug told the paper.
Bugg said she and Lewis were “disappointed” about the circumstances but “realized we still have so much.”
“Canceling a wedding compared to what other people were going through wasn’t as big a deal,” she said.
Congratulations Billy and Emily!
May your lives together be long and happy, thrilling and fulfilling — we think you’re a wonderful couple!
THRESHOLDS. HOME. HEALTH. HOPE.
Thresholds is fighting to transform the lives of people living with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. We break cycles of poverty and unemployment. We are path breaking in our innovative research and advocacy.<br /> We also make opportunities. Opportunities for housing, employment, and recovery. Opportunities for families to reconnect. Above all we make hope possible. LEARN MORE