COA hosts Valentine’s Day luncheon

Published 9:45 am Friday, February 15, 2019

DOWAGIAC — Love was in the air Thursday as the Cass County Council on Aging celebrated the most romantic holiday of the year.

Thursday, the COA hosted a Valentine’s Day luncheons at both of its locations in Dowagiac and Cassopolis. During the event, area seniors got together to eat lunch, enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the holiday. The Dowagiac Front Street Crossing location also gave away prizes and flowers in addition to decorating its café with themed decorations such as hearts and pink candies.

For those who organized the event, the luncheon was a way to provide a fun, stress-free event for local seniors to enjoy.

“We do this for pretty much all of our holidays,” said Front Street Crossing Manager Kelli Casey. “This is just a nice thing to do, especially as a lot of [our clients] are single. It’s a great way for them to socialize a bit.”

Casey said she saw at least 40 visitors during the Valentine’s Day luncheon, which is a good deal more visitors than the café would see during a typical Thursday lunch period. There were additional visitors at the COA’s Cassopolis location, as well. She said she believed the event was popular because it gave visitors a small reason to get out of the house and celebrate Valentine’s Day — something they might not have done if the COA did not host its annual luncheon.

“It gives something for them to look forward to in the middle of the week, especially this week as we were closed for two days in a row due to the weather,” Casey said. “It’s finally nice to get out of the house, and it just gives you a reason to get out and spend time with friends and maybe even meet a new friend.”

Several seniors who visited the COA Thursday for the luncheon said they appreciated the luncheon and all that the COA does for Cass County’s senior population.

Jim Vandygriff, 72, of Cassopolis, and Janice Chagnon, 65, of Dowagiac, were two such seniors. The two have been friends for about a year, but they would never have met if it weren’t for the COA or events like the Valentine’s Day luncheon as they met at the facility.

“I like that they do this,” Vandygriff said of the luncheon. “I like everything they do here. I’m a regular.”

Although Vi Martin, 88, and Aletha Archer, 97, both of Dowagiac, did not meet at the COA, they said that the organization has become a large part of their socialization and that they were happy to celebrate their friendship at the COA’s luncheon Thursday.

“We needed a day out, and we thought this would be a great day out,” Martin said. “Dowagiac is very, very fortunate to have the COA.”