Mantua couple uses wedding to help donate over $5,000 to nonprofits
In lieu of traditional wedding gifts, Josh and Heather Parr asked attendees of their reception to help them give back to causes they believed in. On Friday, they announced they were able to make a $2,600 donation to both the Portage County Animal Protective League and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The two Mantua Township residents were officially married during a small ceremony on Oct. 10. Like others who celebrated weddings in 2020, however, they waited before hosting a big wedding reception. Saturday, Aug. 14, is when around 170 people gathered to celebrate the new Parrs.
Heather, 27, and Josh, 28, had dated for years, first meeting during a chemistry class at Crestwood High School. Josh proposed in August.
The two had been living together and already had everything they needed, so Josh suggested donating their monetary wedding gifts, and Heather was quick to agree.
They wrote a little poem on their reception invitations to explain their charitable idea. For those who preferred to give a gift instead, the couple took the value of that item and contributed it toward the donation.
Josh and Heather both picked one organization to give to. In total, they and their reception guests raised $5,200 for St. Jude and Portage APL. The donation was split evenly between the two organizations.
St. Jude is based in Memphis, Tennessee but serves families from all around the globe. Its mission “is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. No family receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food because the organization wants them to be able to focus solely on their child.
Donations go toward helping patients get the best care. Contributions also help aid research, St. Jude development representative Lia Hones said. The organization shares its research and protocols with other hospitals.
Josh, a real estate professional, has given to St. Jude for a few years now. He runs a small business with his cousin and brother called Turnkey-to-Be Properties LLC. Every year, they choose a few efforts to give to. His longtime familiarity with the organization’s cause made him want to give more.
Chalan Lowry, executive director of Portage APL, also shared why donations are important to her organization. Especially now and in a place like Portage County, where some are economically struggling, the fact the couple chose to give was “huge.”
“We can’t save animals without you,” Lowry said. “I just want you to know how much it means to us and the animals.”
The local nonprofit rescues sick and injured animals, takes in abandoned animals, investigates cruelty and stocks items for people who need help caring for their pets. Portage APL also helps care for pets whose owners must seek shelter elsewhere. Donations like the one from the Parrs help workers see that their efforts are still supported by the community, Lowry said.
As a nurse anesthetist for UH Geauga Medical Center, Heather said she feels that she serves the human medical community already. Choosing to give to Portage APL was a way to give back to both a local organization and local animals. Growing up in Portage County, she said, she has always recognized the Portage APL as a good and helpful thing.
“I think it’s important, because I think everybody needs a little bit of help sometimes in their life,” Heather said. “If I can be that light for somebody else or for another animal and give that assistance, then it’s just obvious to me.”
The couple was very grateful for the generosity of the guests who helped make the donations possible.
Contact reporter Kaitlyn McGarvey with Portage County news by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @kaitlynmcg_rc.