A canceled wedding left a $5,000 catering deposit. This couple used it to serve Thanksgiving meals.

Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis lost their $5,000 catering deposit when their wedding was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions. But they got married anyway and their non-refundable deposit went to charity.



a person sitting at a table in front of a car: Emily Bugg prepares Thanksgiving meal packages for delivery to Thresholds clients.


© Elizabeth Boschma, Thresholds
Emily Bugg prepares Thanksgiving meal packages for delivery to Thresholds clients.

It’s a novel and humanitarian way to deal with a problem that couples occasionally face in the COVID-19 pandemic, when their weddings are canceled or re-scheduled.

“We’ve had a couple cancellations, but nobody’s ever said, ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea. Put my deposit toward a charitable cause,'” said Heidi Moorman Coudal, the owner of Big Delicious Planet catering company. Coudal agreed to use the Illinois couple’s deposit toward 200 Thanksgiving meals for Thresholds, a nonprofit whose clients include people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders in the state. 

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It’s something the catering company had never done before in 26 years of operations,  Coudal told USA TODAY. It was bit of good news in an otherwise rough year for the company, which typically caters 60 weddings per year, she said. Like other caterers this year, Big Delicious Planet has been hit hard by protocols designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Christmas lights even before Thanksgiving: There’s a reason behind the ‘act of kindness,’ experts say

Big Delicious Planet, a Chicago-based caterer, prepared meals that included turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, salad, bread and butter, and a desert, Coudal said. Grace Hamilton, the company’s director of weddings and events, brought Bugg’s idea to Coudal, the owner said. 

Coudal said she and her employees jumped at the chance to help. Four Big Delicious Planet employees cooked the meal and boxed it up. Bugg and other volunteers hand-delivered the food, Coudal said. 



a bunch of food on a table: Big Delicious Planet of Chicago prepares 200 meals for donation to Thresholds clients.


© Courtesy Big Delicious Planet
Big Delicious Planet of Chicago prepares 200 meals for donation to Thresholds clients.

“My initial reaction was like, ‘Wow, that’s different,” Coudal said. 

She added, “I thought this was a really nice cause and a nice idea and I think it was kind of refreshing to do something nice when so many bad things are happening right now and too many people are in need. I was like, ‘Sure, let’s do it.'” 

Bugg, 33, works for Threshold as an outreach worker, the company said in an email. She and Lewis, 34, got married on Oct. 1 at City Hall in Chicago. The couple also spoke with the venue Salvage One, which agreed to put their deposit toward a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation, another cause Bugg has a connection to, Thresholds said.  

Red Kettle bells are still ringing: Salvation Army braces for fewer donations

“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” 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

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Mississippi State women’s basketball game at Southern Miss canceled

Mississippi State’s women’s basketball schedule has encountered another change. 

MSU’s game against Southern Miss – originally scheduled to be played in Hattiesburg on December 12 – had been cancelled. Southern Miss announced Monday that its program has suspended all team activities until December 12 due to COVID-19 protocols.

It’s already not the first time the Bulldogs have had to adjust this season. Mississippi State was supposed to open up its 2020-21 campaign this past Saturday at the Women’s Hall of Fame Challenge in Connecticut. However that event was cancelled due to COVID-19-related issues, costing the Bulldogs a chance to play a couple of games. Instead, MSU scheduled a sudden game against Jackson State for this past Sunday. The Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 88-58 in MSU’s first game under the direction of new head coach Nikki McCray-Penson.

Mississippi State’s season is set to continue with a pair of games this week. The Bulldogs host New Orleans on Wednesday at 7 p.m. central. They’ll then face South Florida on the road at 6 p.m. central Saturday.

With the cancellation of the Southern Miss game, MSU now doesn’t have a game scheduled between the South Florida contest and a December 14 home game versus Troy. It’s currently unknown if the Bulldogs might look to schedule another game now that the instate battle against the Golden Eagles is off.

To follow along on Cowbell Corner and comment on articles and participate in the community, simply sign up, get a username and chime in with your thoughts and questions. Also, be sure to follow Cowbell Corner on Twitter (@SIBulldogs) by clicking here, and like it on Facebook by clicking here. Thank you for coming to Cowbell Corner for coverage of Mississippi State sports.

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Couple uses food from canceled wedding to feed 200 people on Thanksgiving

Like many weddings this year, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis’ nuptials didn’t go as planned. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the couple decided to get married at City Hall in Chicago instead of having a big ceremony. And instead of taking the deposits for their reception back, they decided to repurpose them. 

The couple put their $5,000 worth of reception food to a good use on Thanksgiving, according to a local charity. Bugg and Lewis donated the 200 meals to Thresholds, an organization that provides services and resources for people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Illinois. 

emily-packaging-meals.jpg
Emily Bugg packing Thanksgiving meals for Thresholds clients.

Thresholds


Bugg is an outreach worker with the nonprofit, which helps people dealing with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression, according to the organization.

Thresholds usually holds a communal Thanksgiving dinner for clients, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Instead, Bugg and Lewis’ wedding caterer, Big Delicious Planet, put the couple’s $5,000 deposit to use to prepare special Thanksgiving meals for delivery.

The caterers worked alongside Threshold staff members to box individual meals, which where then delivered to the client’s homes. Big Delicious Planet cooked turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and other Thanksgiving staples. 

thanksgiving-meals-2.jpg
200 individual meals were provided to  clients, whose Thanksgiving meal through Threshold was originally cancelled due to the pandemic.

Thresholds


The couple’s wedding venue, Salvage One, also agreed to repurpose their deposit for a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation. 

“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” Bugg said. “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.”

Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug said the couple’s donation is “an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many.”

“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 said.

The couple’s wedding may have been canceled, but their generosity helped bring many others joy on Thanksgiving.

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Food from canceled wedding feeds 200 on Thanksgiving

Like many weddings this year, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis’ nuptials didn’t go as planned. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the couple decided to get married at City Hall in Chicago instead of having a big ceremony. And instead of taking the deposits for their reception back, they decided to repurpose them. 



a person sitting at a table eating food: emily-packaging-meals.jpg


© Thresholds
emily-packaging-meals.jpg

The couple put their $5,000 worth of reception food to a good use on Thanksgiving, according to a local charity. Bugg and Lewis donated the 200 meals to Thresholds, an organization that provides services and resources for people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Illinois. 



a person sitting at a table in front of a car: Emily Bugg packing Thanksgiving meals for Thresholds clients. / Credit: Thresholds


© Provided by CBS News
Emily Bugg packing Thanksgiving meals for Thresholds clients. / Credit: Thresholds

Bugg is an outreach worker with the nonprofit, which helps people dealing with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression, according to the organization.

Thresholds usually holds a communal Thanksgiving dinner for clients, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Instead, Bugg and Lewis’ wedding caterer, Big Delicious Planet, put the couple’s $5,000 deposit to use to prepare special Thanksgiving meals for delivery.

The caterers worked alongside Threshold staff members to box individual meals, which where then delivered to the client’s homes. Big Delicious Planet cooked turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and other Thanksgiving staples. 



a bunch of food on a table: 200 individual meals were provided to  clients, whose Thanksgiving meal through Threshold was originally cancelled due to the pandemic. / Credit: Thresholds


© Provided by CBS News
200 individual meals were provided to  clients, whose Thanksgiving meal through Threshold was originally cancelled due to the pandemic. / Credit: Thresholds

The couple’s wedding venue, Salvage One, also agreed to repurpose their deposit for a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation. 

“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” Bugg said. “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.”

Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug said the couple’s donation is “an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many.”

“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 said.

The couple’s wedding may have been canceled, but their generosity helped bring many others joy on Thanksgiving.

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Couple uses catering deposit from canceled wedding to feed 200 people on Thanksgiving

Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis got married at City Hall amid COVID-19.

Emily Bugg, 33, and Billy Lewis, 34, used their $5,000 nonrefundable deposit to purchase 200 Thanksgiving dinners for clients of Thresholds, a nonprofit mental health provider dedicated to helping people with serious mental illnesses and substance use conditions.

“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” Bugg, an outreach worker at Thresholds, 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 were married Oct. 1st at City Hall in Chicago. The couple met on the dating app Bumble in 2017.

PHOTO: Emily Bugg, 33, and Billy Lewis, 34, used their $5,000 nonrefundable catering deposit for 200 Thanksgiving dinners. The recipients were clients of Thresholds, a nonprofit mental health provider.

When COVID-19 disrupted their initial wedding gathering, Bugg and Lewis decided to team up with their with caterer, Big Delicious Planet, to make Thanksgiving dinners for Thresholds clients. The meals included turkey, vegetables and mashed potatoes.

Bugg and Lewis’s venue, Salvage One, agreed to put their deposit toward a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation, which is another cause to which Bugg is connected.

Thresholds’ yearly communal Thanksgiving dinners were canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“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.

Thresholds staff boxed the meals with caterers, and then Thresholds staff delivered the meals to clients’ homes ahead of the holiday.

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Couple canceled their big wedding and instead gave Thanksgiving dinners to the needy

When the pandemic upended their wedding plans, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis tied the knot at Chicago’s city hall last month instead.

But there was still one piece of unfinished business: What to do about their $5,000 nonrefundable catering deposit? The newlyweds decided to turn it into 200 Thanksgiving dinners for people with severe mental illness.

“This just seemed like a good way to make the best of a bad situation,” said Bugg, 33, an outreach worker at Thresholds, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions.

In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, dozens of Thresholds clients received a boxed dinner of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and other fixings from Big Delicious Planet, a high-end Chicago-based caterer.

Bugg and Lewis, 34, got engaged in July 2019 and began planning their wedding. They had booked a hip Chicago event space, a fun DJ and a photographer. Bugg purchased her gown, a slip crepe dress with spaghetti straps, and their guest list topped 150 people.

But as the pandemic stretched on, they went to Plan B, first scaling down their guest list to 50. Then, Plan C: changing dates. And finally Plan D: canceling altogether and heading to city hall on Oct. 1.

The couple, who met on the online dating app Bumble in 2017, decided they’d rather go ahead and get married than wait for a seemingly never-ending pandemic to subside.

“We had come to a place where we had some big decisions to make,” said Lewis, who works for an advertising technology company. “We decided to just go ahead and get on with our lives.”

As for the nonrefundable deposits and purchases, the newlyweds chalked them up to the pandemic. The bridal gown — still in its garment bag and hanging in the closet — was a lost cause. So was the check that went to the DJ. The venue, Salvage One, a 60,000-square-foot warehouse, agreed to put the couple’s deposit toward a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation, a cause Bugg has a connection to. The photographer, Sophie Cazottes, offered to document the nuptials at city hall.

But there was still the thorny issue of the $500 catering deposit.

Bugg hatched a plan: Have the wedding banquet morph into Thanksgiving for clients at Thresholds, where she has worked for nine years.

Jane Himmel, owner of Jane Himmel Weddings and Special Events in Chicago, said most wedding vendors have a nonrefundable deposit or retainer policy, but most also try to find mutually agreeable alternatives, such as allowing the deposit to roll over to the next calendar year or swapping wedding photos for family portraits.

As for charitable gifts, she knows one bride and groom who donated all their floral arrangements to area nursing homes. Because weddings look so different in the pandemic, she said she thinks these gestures will become more common.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, it was just total chaos. But as it stretched on, people started adjusting

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This couple canceled their big wedding and instead gave Thanksgiving dinners to the needy

“This just seemed like a good way to make the best of a bad situation,” said Bugg, 33, an outreach worker at Thresholds, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions.

In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, dozens of Thresholds clients received a boxed dinner of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and other fixings from Big Delicious Planet, a high-end Chicago-based caterer.

Bugg and Lewis, 34, got engaged in July 2019 and began planning their wedding. They had booked a hip Chicago event space, a fun DJ and a photographer. Bugg purchased her gown, a slip crepe dress with spaghetti straps, and their guest list topped 150 people.

But as the pandemic stretched on, they went to Plan B, first scaling down their guest list to 50. Then, Plan C: changing dates. And finally Plan D: canceling altogether and heading to city hall on Oct. 1.

The couple, who met on the online dating app Bumble in 2017, decided they’d rather go ahead and get married than wait for a seemingly never-ending pandemic to subside.

“We had come to a place where we had some big decisions to make,” said Lewis, who works for an advertising technology company. “We decided to just go ahead and get on with our lives.”

As for the nonrefundable deposits and purchases, the newlyweds chalked them up to the pandemic. The bridal gown — still in its garment bag and hanging in the closet — was a lost cause. So was the check that went to the DJ. The venue, Salvage One, a 60,000-square-foot warehouse, agreed to put the couple’s deposit toward a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation, a cause Bugg has a connection to. The photographer, Sophie Cazottes, offered to document the nuptials at city hall.

But there was still the thorny issue of the $500 catering deposit.

Bugg hatched a plan: Have the wedding banquet morph into Thanksgiving for clients at Thresholds, where she has worked for nine years.

Jane Himmel, owner of Jane Himmel Weddings and Special Events in Chicago, said most wedding vendors have a nonrefundable deposit or retainer policy, but most also try to find mutually agreeable alternatives, such as allowing the deposit to roll over to the next calendar year or swapping wedding photos for family portraits.

As for charitable gifts, she knows one bride and groom who donated all their floral arrangements to area nursing homes. Because weddings look so different in the pandemic, she said she thinks these gestures will become more common.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, it was just total chaos. But as it stretched on, people started adjusting to reality,” said Himmel, who has spent more than two decades in the wedding business. “There’s been a mind shift. Couples want to turn lemons into lemonade.”

That was certainly on Bugg’s mind when she brought the Thanksgiving proposal to Heidi Moorman Coudal, owner of Big Delicious Planet, who instantly embraced the idea. So did Mark

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Thanksgiving Canceled? Christmas Shopping Isn’t.

Typically, retailers want their stores teeming with shoppers over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This year? Not so much. To allow for social distancing, Walmart Inc., for example, has said its stores will allow 20% of their typical capacity on Black Friday, while Target Corp. will set limits on store by store. Most big chains will remain closed on Thanksgiving, a day that attracted 37.8 million in-store shoppers last year.

Read more: How Retailers Should Prep for Weird Black Friday: Sarah Halzack

But a quieter Black Friday shouldn’t sting too badly if retailers’ other seasonal strategies are working out according to their plans. They began pummeling shoppers with Black Friday-like discounts ahead of the usual schedule. If that worked, then it shouldn’t be too concerning if crowds are thin this weekend. Retailers have also invested in their e-commerce operations, often by launching or building awareness of curbside pickup options, to make up for some of the lost in-store sales. 

Perhaps the best news for retailers ahead of this unusual Black Friday is the trail of recent breadcrumbs about consumers’ willingness to spend despite a raging pandemic and gloomy economy. Several retailers have delivered gangbusters earnings reports in recent days, including Best Buy Co., which said Tuesday that its 23% increase in third-quarter comparable sales was its best result on that measure in about 25 years. That followed similar blowout results from Target Corp. and Home Depot Inc. last week.

While there had been concern about how consumers would behave when their stimulus checks ran out and supplemental unemployment benefits ended, Walmart found its sales accelerated in September and October after a slower August. Home Depot executives said sales of Halloween items were strong, suggesting that, despite fewer parties, shoppers were looking to buy items to help them get in a holiday spirit. Lowe’s Cos. and Williams-Sonoma Inc. reported strong sales, a sign that the spending on nesting that was ushered in by the pandemic has continued in full force. 

Read more: Amazon Prime Day Adds to Retailers’ Scary October: Sarah Halzack

Of course, those earnings reports are a snapshot in time for a period that for most retailers ended around Oct. 31. Since then, cases of Covid-19 have exploded, and the CDC has advised Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving. Several months ago, I thought such volatile and frightening conditions would send shoppers to the sidelines. My logic was: Why buy gifts for people you might not be able to see? Why buy new place settings for a Christmas dinner that may not happen? It turns out, that isn’t the calculus many shoppers are making, at least so far. Instead, based on consumer surveys and recent executive remarks, it appears that a sizeable group of consumers are plowing the money they would’ve spent on air travel, theater tickets and restaurant meals into skin cream, mattresses and all sorts of goods. You might say they’re engaging in retail therapy – soothing their pandemic sorrows with stuff.  

On Monday, the National Retail Federation

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