Grace Center to host holiday celebrations

DOWAGIAC —  In the last few days before Christmas, one local organization is getting in under the wire to provide Cass County residents with some holiday cheer.

In the next week, The Grace Center, a local organization, will host free Christmas events for the community. From 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, the Grace Center will host a cookie and candy workshop for local children at Mt. Zion Community Center, 100 Miller St. From 5 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, children will also be invited to enjoy Christmas caroling and hot chocolate. Both events are free and open to the public.

In addition to the children’s festivities, the organization will host a free Christmas Eve dinner from 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 24, also at Mt. Zion Community Center. Transportation will be provided to seniors by calling in advance at (269) 414-9208.

“This is kind of an old-fashioned Christmas celebration,” said Selina Ivens, the organizer with the Grace Center. “It’s bringing people together and bringing back some old traditions, like caroling.”

The Grace Center is planned to be a women’s daycare for the women of Cass County. Ivens said the Grace Center would be similar to St. Margaret’s House in South Bend, where local women can receive meals, guidance and workshops to allow them to become independent.

“[The Grace Center] is a sisterhood,” Ivens said. “It’s a place where they can learn to help themselves so that they can help others.”

The center does not currently have a physical location, but that is something the Ivens is presently working on procuring and fundraising for.

“Until we have the resources for our own building, we will use what is available in Dowagiac,” Ivens said. “We are really grateful to be able to do this for the community.”

Ivens said she is excited to host the events for the children this weekend, saying that she believes it is vital to pass on holiday traditions such as caroling and cookie making to local children.  Also during the weekend, the Grace Center will host a bake sale to raise funds for the Christmas Eve dinner. Ivens said she believes that hosting both the Christmas Eve dinner and the children’s events is a valuable service to provide to the community.

“This is my hometown. I love Dowagiac,” Ivens said. “Anything I can do to help somebody, I’m going to do. I’d much rather be spending my time helping the people in my community than doing something else.”

Ivens said she hopes the community will attend the events and use the opportunity to celebrate and give back to the Dowagiac community.

“This is a way to support something positive and to support a group that is trying to step out into the community and bring joy into the community,” Ivens said. “This is a way to enjoy the town we are blessed to be in.”

For more information or to volunteer or donate to the Grace Center, call Ivens at (269) 414-9208.

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