A newly-married couple from Chicago donated their unspent catering funds to provide 200 families with Thanksgiving meals last week.
Emily Bugg (33) and Billy Lewis (34) met through a dating app in 2017. When COVID-19 shut down their original big wedding plans, they opted for a more intimate City Hall ceremony on October 1st.
But the couple had already paid a $5,000 nonrefundable deposit to their reception caterers, Salvage One.
Instead of letting the money go to waste, or saving it for a future ceremony, the couple asked Salvage One to use those funds toward providing Thanksgiving dinners to clients of Thresholds, a local non-profit where Buggs works as an outreach worker.
Thresholds provides services to those with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Founded in 1959, they provide healthcare, housing, and hope to a variety of people in all walks of life. “Through care, employment, advocacy, and housing, Thresholds assists and inspires people with mental illnesses to reclaim their lives,” reads their website.
Thresholds holds an annual Thanksgiving dinner for their clients, but this year’s was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Because of the couple’s donation, Threshold was able to deliver 200 boxed Thanksgiving dinners to clients’ homes.
The couple appeared on Good Morning America to talk about the story:
“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” said Buggs. “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.”
“Emily’s donation is an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many,” Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug told Good Morning America. “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 illness.”
The couple’s generosity won’t end there.
The venue they originally reserved for the big ceremony and reception, Salvage One, has agreed to donate the couple’s deposit toward a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation, another charity that Buggs is connected with.