Front Street Crossing hosts cookie exchange

DOWAGIAC — Dowagiac resident Joan Barnhart spent hours over the last week baking up snickerdoodle cookies, church window cookies, mint cookies and more in order to share her recipes with new friends at the Cass County Council on Aging Tuesday afternoon.

“I love to share cookies,” she said, filling a small plastic container with cookies of all shapes and kinds. “I thought this would be a lot of fun, and it is.”

The Front Street Crossing COA location, 227 S. Front St., Dowagiac, hosted a cookie exchange and gift-wrapping event from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday. For the event, participants brought four dozen cookies or homemade treats to exchange with other visitors. Front Street Crossing staff also had a wrapping station at the event to help visitors wrap holiday presents.

Tuesday marked the first time the cookie exchange had been hosted at Front Street Crossing. The event, which Front Street Crossing staff said they hope will become a holiday tradition, was meant to serve as a way for area seniors to share cookies and recipes while getting into the holiday spirit, according to Front Street Crossing Manager Kelli Casey.

The seniors who attended the event agreed that was the case, saying the event was a fun way for them to meet and have fellowship with others and to celebrate the holiday season.

For Barnhart, few things signal the holidays to her like baking and sharing food with others, which is why she said the cookie exchange was a positive experience for her.

“[For the cookie exchange] I had a whole lot of different cookies, and I thought I could get a lot of different cookies to take home to share as Christmas presents and things like that,” she said. “There are a lot of memories in baking. That is what makes it so special around the holidays.”

Amy Snider, of Niles, said she felt the same way, having brought a 35-year-old recipe for pecan sandies to the event.

“Nothing says holidays like cookies and baking,” she said. “There is a tradition to it.”

Participants in the cookie walk said that they appreciated Front Street Crossing hosting such an event, adding that it was symptomatic of all the COA does in the community.

Longtime COA volunteer Terry Proctor, of Niles, came to the cookie exchange, saying that it is just one of many events the COA hosts that he finds fun and enriching.

“[The COA] does a lot in the community,” he said. “It’s a great organization to support, and they always have something going on.”

Snider, who is also involved with the COA, agreed.

“I’ve been blown over by the amount Cass County does for its retired population,” she said. “Most of the events, like this one, are free for people to come and participate. I think that this is great. The variety of events they host here is truly impressive.”

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