For the love of chocolate


Is gluttony really a sin if it’s for a good cause?


On Feb. 29, Teacher's Aid for Student Knowledge held its 27th annual fundraiser, “Chocolate and Beyond,” to raise money for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of St. Johns County.


            Held at First Coast Technical College in St. Augustine, the fundraiser featured sweet and savory treats from a variety of local businesses, showcasing their chocolates as attendees chatted and nibbled on samples being served.


            “It’s a great event for RSVP and the community,” said TASK Board Member Sara Garcia-Malone. “I love it and we love throwing it on.”


            The event also included a silent auction, with items ranging from floral gift baskets to Jacksonville Jaguars merchandise, a "guess the number of chocolates" contest, and a 50/50 chance raffle.


            “It wasn’t very hard, but I was thrilled,” said Anne Tessier after she won a small prize for spinning a “Wheel of Fortune.” Tesier was at Chocolate and Beyond with her daughters, Mary Anne Richards and Jackie Downing.


“She talked us into coming and we’re having a fun day,” Richards said. “We love the band,” she said of a student jazz band that had guests tapping their feet.


“And this is for such a great organization and cause,” said Downing. “We didn’t know about it until we came. My mom knew about it and we all work in education and are teachers.”


RSVP is a collective of seniors and retired community members who volunteer to mentor and tutor students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The organization also helps teach preschool students to read.


“This is my 20th year at Chocolate and Beyond,” said Cheryl Freeman, RSVP director. “We’ve had and still do have volunteers from the Ponte Vedra area because we have schools there. Some volunteers also come to St. Augustine. Whatever works for them, and we’re just so appreciative for everything they do.”





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