An Illinois couple whose canceled their wedding during the coronavirus pandemic turned a bad situation in an uplifting one when they donated their nonrefundable catering deposit to give Thanksgiving dinners to people suffering from mental illness.
Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis got engaged in July last year and had been planning their fall wedding ever since. But as the pandemic raged on and their 150-person wedding transformed into a City Hall elopement in October, the couple was forced to make some challenging decisions.
After all the refunds and cancellations, they were left wondering what to do about their nonrefundable $5,000 catering deposit.
Bugg, who works as a mental health counselor at Thresholds, said when she realized her annual Thanksgiving party was also being canceled because of the pandemic, her challenging decision quickly became an easy one.
"It seemed like an easy decision and the right thing to turn something that we could have been disappointed at to give to so many people who need it right now," she said.
The couple ultimately worked with their caterer, Big Delicious Planet, to provide Thanksgiving meals to 200 Thresholds clients.
"The meal looked amazing," Bugg said. "It was a big meal. There was turkey, potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, salad and cookies for dessert."
Mark Ishaug, CEO of Thresholds, said the company was able to feed more people this year thanks to the couple.
"I was so moved because it was so beautiful," Ishaug said.
Meanwhile the newlyweds said they might still throw a small reception after the pandemic.
"We are just looking forward to seeing everyone when it is safe again," Bugg said.