Council on Aging to host cookie exchange event

DOWAGIAC — Next week, Dowagiac residents will have the opportunity to taste sweet treats and share their favorite recipes at an event hosted by the Cass County Council on Aging.

The Front Street Crossing COA location, 227 S. Front St., Dowagiac, will host a cookie exchange and gift-wrapping event from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11. For the event, visitors are being asked to bring four dozen cookies or homemade treats to exchange with other visitors. Front Street Crossing staff will also be on hand to wrap three to four gifts that visitors bring to the event. Hot chocolate will be served at the event by the COA.

“This is something new that we have never done before,” said Kelli Casey, manager of the Front Street Crossing COA. “We are always looking for new events and ways to socialize for our seniors. This seemed like a great way to do that for our seniors that love to bake. We love to bring people in who have never been here before, and you never know what event will make someone say, ‘well, that fits with me.’”

The idea to host the cookie exchange came from COA employee Heidi Powell, who often hosts a similar exchange with her friends and family over the holidays.

“Everyone always really seems to enjoy it,” Powell said. “It’s a great way to get a variety of cookies, especially if you have a lot of visitors coming around, and you only have to bake one time.”

Front Street Crossing employees are planning to get in on the fun by making cookies for the exchange themselves. Casey is planning on bringing her favorite lemon crinkle cookies, which she said she often makes for her family around the holidays. In the same way that baking is a holiday tradition for Casey’s family, both Casey and Powell said cookie baking is also a tradition for many local families, which is why the COA wants to help area seniors carry on the tradition and share their recipes with a baking themed event.

“They all have recipes that they love to share,” Powell said. “Cooking was a part of their generation. There are memories and tradition there.”

Casey said she hopes the cookie exchange is successful and that she hopes to make it a holiday tradition at Front Street Crossing. She also said she believes it is important that the COA host events like the cookie exchange for area seniors.

“It gives people a reason to get out in the nasty weather,” she said. “Not everyone’s family is right here around them, and having special events that involve things families like to do around the holidays — like cooking and eating —is something we like to provide here.”

Both Powell and Casey said they hope area seniors will attend Tuesday’s event and enjoy themselves.

“I hope they will enjoy the camaraderie of meeting other people and finding new recipes that they can hand down to the next generation,” Casey said. “I think we all fall into the rut of making the same things every year, so hopefully this will spark some new interest and give people new ideas.”

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