Dowagiac Rotary donates to Rotary Villa Apartments’ trunk or treat efforts

DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac Rotary Club received thanks for its charitable efforts on Thursday.

Bessie Fultz and Barbara Moses of Rotary Villa Apartments attended Thursday’s Dowagiac Rotary Club meeting at Front Street Crossing, 227 S. Front St., Dowagiac and thanked the club for donating $60 to the facility’s Trunk or Treat event taking place Saturday. The event will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Rotary Villa, 300 Cleveland St., Dowagiac.

“You guys always come through when we need something and we just want to say thank you very much,” Fultz said.

According to Rotarian Barbara Groner, Rotary Villa’s property manager reached out wondering if Rotary would like to contribute anything toward their trunk or treat.

“Thank you all for helping to contribute,” Groner said. “I know my church generally does a trunk or treat but they’re not doing it this year. This event could have a lot of people. I just think it’s a neat thing to do and they can do it without the kids needing to get inside at all.”

Rotary Villa is a senior housing community for people who are 62 years of age or older or for people who are 18 years and older and are disabled or mobility impaired.

Rotarian Barbara Groner said the Dowagiac Rotary Club played a key role in helping the Dowagiac Rotary Villa project to be approved through the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1985. The building was finished in 1988, with the process including hundreds of letters written by community members and late Rotarian Fred Mathews visiting Lansing to speak with government officials.

The mortgage on the Dowagiac Rotary Villa will be paid off in 2027 and the club will take over ownership of the complex if the club is still in existence.

“We are going to try to sell it to another nonprofit or to somebody that wants to run it differently,” Groner said. “I don’t see us wanting to be property owners for the long term.”

The club also discussed how it would like to proceed with weekly meetings amid the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases. As of Thursday, Cass County reported 959 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths and Van Buren County reported 1,058 cases and 18 deaths. Neighboring Berrien County reported 2,583 COVID-19 cases and 82 related deaths. The club is considering continuing in-person meetings, transitioning to Zoom meetings and a hybrid format where members can choose how they participate.

“I think we do a pretty good job of social distancing here and wear masks,” said Rotarian Dick Judd. “I’m really, really enjoying being here.”

The club conducted three Zoom meetings in September following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order limiting the number of people in a room at one time. The first two meetings were well attended, while the third Zoom meeting featured only three members.

Dowagiac Rotary president Bob Cochrane said that a Rotary board meeting is in the works for next week, and that the topic would be discussed there.

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