Caroline Stoltzfus/The City Mission
After exchanging vows earlier this month, two newlyweds from Ohio visited a local women’s shelter to share meals that were originally ordered for their wedding reception.
With the coronavirus outbreak continuing, Melanie and Tyler Tapajna realized they needed to make some big changes to their Aug. 15 wedding plans. Instead of hosting dozens of guests, the couple held an intimate ceremony with loved ones and canceled their plans for a reception, they told Today.
But because they had already pre-paid for the meals, Melanie and Tyler decided to donate the food to The City Mission’s Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center. The center supports homeless women by providing them shelter and a pathway toward sustainable income and housing.
“The kids were thrilled and, the little girls especially, were awestruck by this,” Tyler told Today. “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.”
The couple visited the crisis center immediately after the ceremony and passed out meals to women and children while still wearing their wedding attire and masks. On the menu for the day was fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and other items, according to WKYC.
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Caroline Stoltzfus/The City Mission A child enjoys one of the couple’s donated meals
“Why not spread the love?” Melanie said of the donation. “Seeing everybody happy is making us happy.”
The couple’s generous contribution also left an impression on The City Mission’s CEO, Richard Trickel.
“They’ve could’ve done a hundred other things you know and yet they’re choosing to do this, a real act of giving and compassion on a day that is the most important day of their life,” he told WKYC.
“I just thought ‘Holy cow, what an unselfish, wonderful idea,’ ” he continued. “I think it communicates to the women that there are people who care for them.”
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Caroline Stoltzfus/The City Mission Melanie and Tyler Tapajna
With coronavirus continuing to upend the lives of many families around the country, the couple said donating seemed like the least they could do to help. In fact, the couple has made giving to charity a tradition of sorts — they have donated to nonprofits every year since they met at a wedding in 2016, according to Today.
“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 recalled to the outlet. “Not only was it the women and children, but the volunteers and workers were happy to see everyone enjoy themselves.”
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In the end, while coronavirus disrupted their wedding plans, the newlyweds said it couldn’t have turned out better.
“It’s the children. That is our future and they deserve to enjoy everything that we could possibly give them,” Melanie told WKYC. “This is actually, probably the best outcome of it all.”
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