Annual Columbia Restaurant fundraiser to support COA, other nonprofits


Patrons of any of the seven Columbia Restaurant locations in Florida throughout the month of September will have the opportunity to donate to the St. Johns County Council on Aging as part of the restaurant’s 21st annual Community Harvest program.

Through the program, the Columbia donates 5 percent of all guests’ September lunch and dinner checks to the charitable organizations chosen by their customers. Over the past 20 years, the Columbia Restaurant Community Harvest has donated more than $2.2 million to nonprofit organizations throughout Florida. This year, the list of organizations will include the St. Johns County Council on Aging.

Local community members can participate in the Columbia Restaurant Community Harvest program by visiting the Columbia Restaurant located in downtown St. Augustine at 98 St. George St.

“We started this program in 1998 as a way to help many of the worthy nonprofit groups that are so important to our communities,” said Richard Gonzmart, president of the Columbia Restaurant Group. “We thought the best way to do this was by letting our customers get involved in selecting the organizations. The process is simple — they just put a check mark next to one of the charitable organizations listed on a form we provide. They turn it in to their server; we do the rest and donate 5 percent to the charity.” 

The original Columbia Restaurant was founded in Tampa’s Historic Ybor City in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez Sr. and is now Florida’s oldest restaurant. All Columbia locations are owned and operated by fourth and fifth generation members of the founding family, except for Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport, which is operated in partnership with HMSHost.

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