Like many engaged couples, Melanie and Tyler Tapajna of Parma, Ohio, had to tweak their wedding when the coronavirus pandemic hit. They canceled their original plan to host 150 people at The Lodge at Allardale in favor of a small ceremony for their nearest and dearest on Aug. 15.
The only problem was they had already ordered food for a large crowd from Betty’s Bomb Ass Burgers, their favorite local food truck and caterer (and the best-named food establishment ever). Rather than let the food go to waste, they decided to share it with those in need, by donating it to Laura’s Home, a Cleveland nonprofit that helps homeless women and children.
But the Tapajnas didn’t just drop the food off and wash their hands of the whole COVID-19 cancellation ordeal. Nope. Instead, after their nuptials, the bride and groom showed up at the nonprofit dressed in their wedding finery. They put on hairnets, gloves, and face masks, then proceeded to serve the 145-plus residents of Laura’s Home.
Photo: Caroline Stoltzfus/The City Mission
Rich Trickel, CEO of The City Mission, which oversees crisis centers in Cleveland, told Today that the couple’s good deed was “an unbelievable act of generosity and compassion.”
“It made an impression on these people — women and kids, who are homeless and too often overlooked — that there are people that care for them, and who want to do something to express that,” he said.
The couple have made it a habit of donating to charity annually since they met in 2016. That their first activity together as a married couple involved giving back was the perfect way to honor their wedding vows.
“I asked Tyler what his favorite part of our wedding (was) and he told me it was the amount of smiles that it brought,” Melanie said.
Even better: the donated reception food provided not just one hearty meal, but fed residents of Laura’s Home for several days.
In an age when weddings are known for their excessive and unnecessary consumption, it’s refreshing to see a couple reinventing what celebration really means.
Cover Photo: Caroline Stoltzfus/The City Mission
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