Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis of Chicago helped provide meals for those in need.
A couple who had been planning a large dream wedding reception for family and friends had to settle for a smaller gathering due to the pandemic. But they still decided to make their wedding big by doing something noble. Emily Bugg, 33, and Billy Lewis, 34, used their $5,000 non-refundable deposit to purchase 200 dinners for Thanksgiving last year (2020). The couple helped clients of Thresholds, a nonprofit mental health provider dedicated to helping people with serious mental illnesses and substance use conditions, reports Good Morning America.
Love this. When my husband and I tied the knot after 10 years of being together, we each had a house & lots of STUFF. We asked guests to donate to charities. This couple canceled their big wedding and instead gave Thanksgiving dinners to the needy https://t.co/H5XAj0WHqX— Sarah WEAR YOUR MASK Littman 🔥🔥 (@realsaramerica) November 29, 2020
The couple met on the dating app Bumble in 2017 and got married on Oct. 1st at City Hall in Chicago. The pair got together with their caterer Big Delicious Planet to make Thanksgiving dinners (which included turkey, vegetables and mashed potatoes) for Thresholds clients. "In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn't the worst thing that could happen," Bugg, the bride, told GMA. " 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." The pair's venue also decided to chip in to lend a helping hand. Salvage One agreed to put their deposit toward a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation.
LOVE THIS ❤️ After canceling their wedding plans and getting married at Chicago's City Hall, newlyweds Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis used the money saved for their wedding to feed the needy on Thanksgiving! https://t.co/9B6wAFSrnM— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) December 1, 2020
"Emily's donation is an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many," said Mark Ishaug, CEO of Thresholds. "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 added.
According to CNN, caterer Heidi Moorman Coudal, who owns Chicago-based company Big Delicious Planet, recalled, "They said, 'Is there any way we could do something good with our deposit?'" She said most couples ask for their money back. "For them to think about doing something for the greater good is just really heartwarming," Coudal shared. "Everybody was really excited because they knew this food was going to a really good cause," Coudal said. "I think of Big Delicious Planet as a company that gives a lot back to the community -- we donate our time, our food resources, our locations and community garden, so I was happy to get on board with this."
Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug said the donation was important, even more so this time around, as the nonprofit had to cancel its largest fundraiser due to Covid-19. "It really couldn't have come at a better time," Ishaug said. "This is about Emily and Billy, but it really exemplifies my entire staff and how much the people who work at Thresholds care so deeply about the people they serve." This kind gesture of the couple has inspired others to give back to the community as well, he said. Another Chicago man reached out to Thresholds to say that his retirement party had been canceled. He wanted to know if he could put the food deposit toward Christmas meals for those who need it. "It's an example of goodness begetting more goodness," Ishaug said. "In this time of despair and this time of sadness and anxiety and frustration, we need more goodness. This is just one example of how we can take a really dark time and make it much brighter."
That's the America I love. Thank you— PSBlaw (@BregmanPs) November 26, 2020
According to the Washington Post, the couple is grateful for the good things in their lives. The two are healthy and employed, and they even rescued a second dog recently — a Labrador mix named June. Lewis said, "I’m lucky to have a wife who is clever and thoughtful enough to change a not-so-good situation into something positive for a lot of people.” As for Bugg, she shared, “So many people have told me this was a beautiful way to start our married life together.”
That’s a couple with a beautiful future ahead. Kudos to them!— Fernando Bardia Albanez (@AlbanezBardia) November 26, 2020