Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis did not want to let their wedding's catering deposit go to waste. So they fed those struggling with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, many married couples to-be have chosen to shrink their weddings down or cancel them altogether. One couple based in Chicago decided to do the latter. When Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis canceled their wedding, they had no venue, no reception, and no guests. However, they still had a $5,000 catering deposit. Instead of asking for the money to be returned to them, they decided to use the funds in the kindest way possible. By collaborating with Thresholds, a nonprofit organization that provides services and resources for people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Illinois, the couple was able to feed 200 people in need, CNN reports.
Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis’ wedding plans were interrupted due to COVID-19. They turned this unfortunate circumstance into an opportunity to #WeaveCommunity. The couple convinced their caterer to donate the wedding meals to 200 people on Thanksgiving. https://t.co/K26HFOBkIx— #WeavingCommunity (@Weaving_US) December 5, 2020
Their caterer, Heidi Moorman Coudal of Big Delicious Planet, recalled, "They said, 'Is there any way we could do something good with our deposit?'" While most of her clients ask for a refund on the deposit or think of the time and resources caterers put into their food as just another "sunk cost," Bugg and Lewis were different. She affirmed, "For them to think about doing something for the greater good is just really heartwarming." As for the couple, they were just happy to help out however they could. "In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn't the worst thing that could happen," bride Bugg said in a statement. "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." She is an outreach worker at Thresholds, so the decision to donate the meals to the nonprofit was a no-brainer.
Hats off to Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis of Chicago. https://t.co/cOeuSVbTo7— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) December 7, 2020
Coudal shared that everyone at her company was actually quite excited to help fulfill the request. She explained, "Everybody was really excited because they knew this food was going to a really good cause. 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." The donation could not have come at a better time, Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug stated. "It really couldn't have come at a better time," he shared. "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."
Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis cancelled their wedding due to covid but still had a $5000 catering deposit, so they decided to have a catering company make over 200 Thanksgiving meals for the needy!— Encourage Minute (@HeidiRew) December 1, 2020
Check out more about this newly wed couple: https://t.co/Q7kBPXeYwv pic.twitter.com/qwkV6cAzP8
Lewis and Bugg's generosity has served as an example of what is possible if more people open their hearts and act in kindness at a time when thousands of people are struggling. Right after news of their donation broke, another Chicago resident reached out to Threshold to do the same. His retirement party had been canceled, so he asked if he could put the food deposit toward Christmas meals for those in need. Ishaug said, "It's an example of goodness begetting more goodness. 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."
Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis lost their deposit when their wedding was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions.— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 4, 2020
Heidi Moorman Coudal, the owner of Big Delicious Planet catering company, agreed to use the deposit toward 200 Thanksgiving meals. https://t.co/2CEWbC9MI7