Forest Glen to host curbside luncheon for first responders

DOWAGIAC — Next week, one local facility is looking to give back to those who continue to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forest Glen Assisted Living Facility will host a luncheon to celebrate first responders, including police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses and more, at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12. The luncheon will be hosted at the Dowagiac facility, 29601 Amerihost Dr. The meal, which is free to all first responders, will consist of chili, salad, cornbread, a dessert and something to drink.

“This is our way to say thank you over some famous, world-renowned chili,” said Kayla Lyons, care team lead and life enrichment director at Forest Glen.

Tuesday’s event will not be the first time the facility has hosted a luncheon for first responders — staff hosted one earlier this year. However, it will be the first luncheon hosted at the nursing home during a global pandemic. To comply with social distancing guidelines and state mandates, the luncheon will be organized as a curbside/carryout event.

“We are going to do a curbside pickup,” Lyons said. “We will have somebody outside distributing food to them. They can pull right up, and they don’t have to get out of the car.”

So far, Lyons does not know how many first responders to expect but hopes many will attend, saying it is “the more, the merrier.”

As a nursing facility, Forest Glen often deals with first responders, which Lyons said makes it fitting that the facility would host a meal in their honor. The meal is meant to serve as a “thank you” to first responders, something Lyons believes is important at any time, but especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when first responders continue to work to keep the community safe.

“This is just a ‘thank you’ to our community,” Lyons said. “We have encounters with our first responders a lot, and we really rely on them. I don’t think we could get through this time without them. We are excited to be able to do this for them.”

Staff members are not the only ones excited about the event. Lyons said Forest Glen residents are looking forward to it and will be lining up at their windows to wave to the first responders as they pass by.

Lyons said she would encourage any first responder to drive up to Forest Glen’s front door Tuesday afternoon and to bring their appetites with them.

“It would be our pleasure to serve them,” she said. “We would love to see them, and the residents would love to see them.”