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. 

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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.  

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“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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Volunteers of America Classic marks LPGA’s return to North Texas, will serve as tune up for U.S. Women’s Open

The LPGA is back in North Texas with the Volunteers of America Classic at the Old American Golf Club in The Colony.

The rescheduled tournament (from October) now doubles as a tuneup for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open that will be contested at Champions Golf Club’s Cypress Creek Course in Houston and the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, Fla., the following week.

The VOA Classic is in its third year at the links-style Old American Golf Club designed by Tripp Davis and 12-time PGA TOUR winner Justin Leonard after its first five events took place at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving.

The 120-player field this week includes world No. 1 Jin Young Ko, two-time VOA Classic champion and world No. 5 Inbee Park, 2014 VOA Classic champion Stacey Lewis and defending champion Cheyenne Knight.

Knight, 23, who resides in Aledo, enjoys playing close to home.

“It’s nice. It’s more comfortable. You know, it’s different than staying in a hotel, having a rental car, but you know, I know where everything is, I don’t even need a GPS,” Knight said. “Yeah, coming home every night, sleeping in my own bed with my family and my dogs. Because the weather’s colder, I don’t need to go buy anything because I have everything at home in my closet, so it’s really nice.”

Another Texas golfer in the field is Kristen Gillman, 23, who is originally from Austin. Gillman is looking forward to playing even though there will be no fans allowed on the grounds.

“Everyone’s been texting me and asking if they can come and watch, so sadly I have to keep telling them ‘No, sorry, fans aren’t allowed yet.’ I know that they’re all watching and they’re all excited to watch live scoring,” she said. “I mean, they’re just excited to be able to see me compete. Even though they won’t be here in person, they can at least watch some of it on TV. I think they’re excited to see me out here playing in Texas.”


The festivities kicked off with the VOA Classic Charity Challenge on Wednesday afternoon featuring Texas natives Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller taking on Sophia Popov and Mel Reid in what was billed as a “Solheim Cup-style showdown” between Team USA and Team Europe.

Playing the back nine of the Old American Golf Club’s par-71 layout, they were joined by former Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler and former Stars goalie Marty Turco to play the par-5 No. 17th hole.

“I like to get beat up psychologically, that’s why I play golf,” Kinsler cracked on the Golf Channel broadcast. “I’ll swing hard in case I hit it.”

And hit it he did. Kinsler’s drive carried 299 yards for Team USA, albeit a little off the fairway.

Turco ripped his drive as well and donned a Stars goalie mask for his walk down the fairway.

Kinsler and Turco each drained birdie putts on No. 17, carrying the

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