Ohio newlyweds donate and serve wedding reception food to local shelter

Tyler and Melanie Tapajna opted to ditch the large gathering for safety reasons and donate what would have been the food at their party to a local women's shelter.
Ohio newlyweds turned their canceled reception into an act of service by donating their reception food to a local women's shelter.

Before the pandemic hit, Tyler and Melanie Tapajna, of Parma, Ohio, had arranged to celebrate their nuptials in a more traditional way. They had planned a large 150-person party, and booked a DJ and local caterers to help ring in their big day in August.

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But as venues began to cancel events due to coronavirus, the couple -- like countless others with scheduled ceremonies in 2020 -- had to change their plans.

The couple opted to ditch the large gathering, for safety reasons, and donate what would have been the food at their party -- from Ohio-based food truck and catering service Betty's Bomb Ass Burgers -- to a shelter.

"It was really either have the big wedding or donate the food," Melanie Tapajna told CNN. "We were actually kind of excited I think more about donating the food than being stressed during the wedding."

On Saturday, after a small backyard wedding with immediate family members, the newlyweds headed over to Laura's Home -- a women and children's facility run by The City Mission in Cleveland, Ohio -- to make their donation.

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Tyler, who dressed in a black and white tuxedo, and Melanie, who wore her white lace wedding gown, kept their face masks on and put on gloves and hairnets to serve the food.
They served fried chicken, green beans, salad and mac and cheese to a total of 135 women and children, according to Rich Trickel, the CEO of The City Mission.

"Something like that had never occurred before," said Trickel, who coordinated with the couple and the caterer to get the food delivered. "It was really unbelievable especially when you think of many of our clients, the women and kids that are in our building, possibly have never been at a wedding like that before."

The couple said they hope their donation inspired others whose plans have been derailed by the virus.

"You can definitely give back in times like this," Melanie said.

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