Like many weddings this year, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis’ nuptials didn’t go as planned. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the couple decided to get married at City Hall in Chicago instead of having a big ceremony. And instead of taking the deposits for their reception back, they decided to repurpose them.
The couple put their $5,000 worth of reception food to a good use on Thanksgiving, according to a local charity. Bugg and Lewis donated the 200 meals to Thresholds, an organization that provides services and resources for people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Illinois.
Bugg is an outreach worker with the nonprofit, which helps people dealing with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression, according to the organization.
Thresholds usually holds a communal Thanksgiving dinner for clients, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Instead, Bugg and Lewis’ wedding caterer, Big Delicious Planet, put the couple’s $5,000 deposit to use to prepare special Thanksgiving meals for delivery.
The caterers worked alongside Threshold staff members to box individual meals, which where then delivered to the client’s homes. Big Delicious Planet cooked turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and other Thanksgiving staples.
The couple’s wedding venue, Salvage One, also agreed to repurpose their deposit for a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation.
“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” Bugg said. “We’re happy to be married, and we’re so happy that we could help Thresholds’ clients feel the connection of a Thanksgiving meal as a result of the wedding cancellation.”
Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug said the couple’s donation is “an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many.”
“I know that Emily’s act of kindness will inspire others to do the same and build love and connection in a difficult time, in any way we can. Thresholds is so grateful for our staff, like Emily, who are so dedicated to their work serving those with mental illnesses,” he said.
The couple’s wedding may have been canceled, but their generosity helped bring many others joy on Thanksgiving.