Submitted by Beth Cravey on September 5, 2014 – 4:35pm
For the entire month, Columbia restaurants across Florida will donate 5 percent of all guests’ lunch and dinner checks, in the form of gift certificates, to participating charities, according to a news release issued by one of the participating nonprofits, Dreams Come True of Jacksonville.
Other participating charities for the St. Augustine location are the Betty Griffin House, Boy Scouts Of America, Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Friends of the Library, Laundry Project, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Moffitt Cancer Center, St. Augustine Humane Society, St. Gerard Campus, St. Johns County Council on Aging, Take Stock in Children and WORC Inc.
The donations are part of the restaurant owners’ 17th annual Community Harvest program, which takes place at all Columbia locations across Florida.
“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 Columbia president Richard Gonzmart, a fourth generation descendant of the founder.
“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,” he said.
Over the past 16 years, the program has donated more than $1.5 million to Florida nonprofits in Florida, including $2,500 in Columbia gift certificates. The nonprofit gave the gift certificates to families and used them at fundraising events, according to the release.
Founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez Sr., the Columbia Restaurant is Florida’s oldest restaurant, and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.
For more information, go to columbiarestaurant.com.