Chicago couple uses deposit from canceled wedding to feed hundreds on Thanksgiving

Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis got married at Chicago’s city hall last month. (Sophie Cazottes Photography)

A Chicago couple used their money saved for a catered reception for their wedding to feed the needy for Thanksgiving.

After cancelling their original plans because of COVID-19, Emily Bugg, 33, and Billy Lewis, 34, married on Oct. 1st at City Hall in Chicago.

Using their $5,000 nonrefundable catering deposit, the newlyweds bought 200 Thanksgiving dinners for clients of Thresholds, a nonprofit mental health provider for people with serious mental illnesses and substance abuse issues. Bugg is also an outreach worker at Thresholds.

Emily Bugg packages Thanksgiving meals for delivery to 200 Thresholds clients. (Elizabeth Boschma/Thresholds)

The dinners were catered by Big Delicious Planet who shared the news on Instagram: “As this pandemic has dragged on and restrictions on gathering sizes have been mandated, we’re getting second postponements and a few cancellations. Emily & Billy, one of our couples whose wedding we were to cater in October, told Grace Hamilton, BDP’s Director of Weddings & Events, they wanted to cancel their wedding, but asked if they could repurpose their wedding deposit to meals for a non-profit. We thought it was such a nice idea, and agreed to make Thanksgiving meals for @thresholdschicago.”

Bugg and Lewis at city hall in Chicago. (Sophie Cazottes Photography)

The meals included turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and other fixings.

Thresholds staff worked to box the meals with the caterers, and then delivered the meals to clients' homes.

Emily Bugg prepares Thanksgiving meal packages for delivery to Thresholds clients. (Elizabeth Boschma/Thresholds)

"Emily's donation is an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many, Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug said in a statement. "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 client Danny receives his Thanksgiving meal. (Elizabeth Boschma/Thresholds)


"In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn't the worst thing that could happen," Bugg told Good Morning America. "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."

Bugg and Lewis at city hall in Chicago. (Sophie Cazottes Photography)

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FOX 32 News contributed to this report.