Cass COA hosts annual Valentine’s Day lunch

Published 9:48 am Tuesday, February 5, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — As romance fills the air and lovers buy each other flowers, chocolates and all other varieties of gushy gifts and frivolities, Cass County Council on Aging will open its locations in Cassopolis and Dowagiac on Valentine’s Day for a simple time of lunch and socializing.

The $5 barbeque chicken lunch and raffle will be part of COA’s annual celebration of love and romance, not only for older Cass county residents, but people of all ages.

A Valentine’s Day lunch will be hosted starting at noon at both the Lowe Center, located at 60525 in Cassopolis, and Front Street Crossing, located at 227 S. Front Street in Dowagiac. Although the meal costs money, the event itself will be free, with raffle tickets at the door for 12 centerpiece/gift basket prizes.

Leslie Vargo, the lifelong learning coordinator at Cass COA, sees events like the Valentine’s Day lunch as more than filler events for commercial holidays. Vargo sees the lunch as a necessary opportunity to get snowbirds out of the house, and wholesome community outreach for COA.

“This time of year, people are looking for something to do. They’re interested socializing and interacting,” Vargo said. “A lot of people don’t realize we’re here and what we do. We’re here for social events, and everyone here is able and agile and out in the community.

“Our social events are fun and keeps spirits up, especially if they haven’t been out in winter.” she continued.

Vargo commented on the simplistic view that Cass COA is only an entity for older members of the greater Cass County community. She believes that events like the Valentine’s Day lunch are for everyone, and she is pleased that such events do see diverse age groups.

Vargo is especially pleased, however, at the change of heart many people have once they attend Cass COA events.

“People who have never been here are shocked at how nice it is, and most of them come back. People don’t realize what’s here,” she said. “Everybody is always happy. We don’t get grumpy people here.”

As the seasons change and winter places a damper on activities, Vargo sees regular activities and events like the Valentine’s Day lunch as crucial for morale. Although Cass COA hosts events for most major and secondary holidays, Valentine’s Day is special for COA because it’s more laid back and fun, according to Vargo.

“A lot of people might not celebrate Valentine’s Day if they didn’t come in here. Any reason for us to decorate and have a party, we’re always looking for a reason,” Vargo said.

Aside from holiday events, Cass COA hosts regular functions and activities involving everything from Euchre tournaments and bingo nights, ceramics classes and knitting groups and beyond. Readers can learn more about Cass COA and follow its events calendar by visiting, or the Cass County Council on Aging Facebook page.