Columbia Restaurant 2021 Community Harvest Program to Benefit COA!

Support Council on Aging just by dining at any Columbia Restaurant in September!

Through its month-long 24th annual Community Harvest program, the Columbia Restaurant donates 5 percent of all diners’ checks to charities selected by the guests. Over the last 23 years, the Columbia Restaurant’s Community Harvest has donated more than $2.6 million to non-profit organizations throughout Florida.

Community Harvest involves each of the Columbia locations, including Ybor City in the historic district of Tampa, St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, St. Augustine, Sand Key on Clearwater Beach, Central Florida’s town of Celebration, the Columbia Cafe on the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa at the Tampa Bay History Center and the Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport. All Columbia locations are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. For more information, see www.ColumbiaRestaurant.com.

“We started this program as a way to help many of the worthy non-profit groups that are so important to our communities,” said 4th generation family member and president Richard Gonzmart.

Gonzmart said the process is simple: Choose a charity from a ballot that’s provided with the check. The restaurant calculates the 5 percent and provides the charity with gift certificates that can be used for up to 12 months. There’s no additional cost to the guest.

The St. Augustine Columbia Restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner and is located at 98 St. George St., St. Augustine. To make a reservation, call 904-824-3341.

Council on Aging Joins Meals on Wheels America and Subaru of America, Inc. in Sharing the Love this Holiday Season

The 13th annual Subaru Share the Love® Event will help deliver nutritious meals and compassion to St. Johns County’s seniors.

Council on Aging (COA) is proud to announce that we will be participating in the 2020 Subaru Share the Love Event as a member of Meals on Wheels America – one of four national Share the Love charitable partners supported through the campaign. From November 19, 2020, through January 4, 2021, Subaru of America will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased to the customer’s choice of participating charities.

“We are very excited to get the word out about this opportunity for members of our community to help seniors in St. Johns County at no cost to them,” said COA Executive Director Becky Yanni. “Seniors have never needed our help more than they do today, and this is an easy way to help us meet their urgent needs.”

Participating Meals on Wheels America members like COA will receive a share of the donations raised by Subaru in their state. COA has partnered with Subaru of Jacksonville, 10800 Atlantic Blvd., Jacksonville, FL to raise awareness for the popular year-end sales and giving event, and drive support for Meals on Wheels.

“Meals on Wheels America is proud to partner with Subaru of America for the 13th consecutive year to enable more seniors to live with independence and dignity,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “Since 2008, the Subaru Share the Love Event has helped deliver more than 2.3 million meals and friendly visits to vulnerable seniors nationwide. We’re enormously grateful to Subaru and its retailers for their long-standing commitment to Meals on Wheels and the millions of seniors who depend on it for nourishment and companionship.”

Over the last 12 years, Subaru of America and its participating retailers have donated more than $176 million to its charity partners. This year’s Subaru Share the Love Event is on track to bring that total to over $200 million, proving there’s no limit to the amount of love we can all share.

By purchasing or leasing a new Subaru during the Subaru Share the Love Event and selecting Meals on Wheels as your charity of choice, you can help deliver nutritious meals and other important services to seniors right here in St. Johns County, FL.

For more information, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/sharethelove.

About Meals on Wheels America

Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Camden, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 630 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. SOA is guided by the Subaru Love Promise, which is the company’s vision to show love and respect to everyone, and to support its communities and customers nationwide. Over the past 20 years, SOA has donated more than $165 million to causes the Subaru family cares about, and its employees have logged more than 40,000 volunteer hours. As a company, Subaru believes it is important to do its part in making a positive impact in the world because it is the right thing to do.

For additional information visit media.subaru.com.

Christmas on the River 2020 – the “Non-Event of the Season”!

Join us for CHRISTMAS ON THE RIVER 2020, the “non-event of the season,” in support of COA’s Care Connection program! This year, due to COVID-19 concerns, we are kicking off the holidays and supporting COA’s Care Connection program from home.  By donating your ticket price and becoming a sponsor, you will be providing the resources necessary to operate COA’s Care Connection program, which provides crucial services to seniors in St. Johns County during the holidays and all year long! Ticket prices are $50 per person, and sponsorships start at $250. To participate, visit www.bit.ly/nonevent2020 or call 904-209-3700. Checks may also be mailed to COA at 180 Marine St., St. Augustine, FL 32084.

COA’s Care Connection program, the event’s beneficiary, supplies services that many elderly adults need to continue to remain in their own homes enjoying their independence. From minor home repairs, lawn services and assistive devices, to the construction of wheelchair ramps, these services are not covered by current funding sources. Yet, they help make the difference between seniors being able to remain comfortably at home rather than being compelled to enter assisted living.  The program is 100% donor-funded and almost entirely volunteer-driven. 

Because there are no other sources of funding available to keep this critically important program running, each year COA holds Christmas on the River as its dedicated fundraiser.

“Providing these services to our seniors is crucial to their independence and their happiness,” Becky Yanni, COA’s Executive Director, explained. “I can’t think of a better way to bring the community together during the holiday season than in support of a such a worthy cause!”

Council on Aging is a 501(c)3 non-profit, charitable organization that has been serving the seniors of St. Johns County for over 47 years.  We are dedicated to leading and advocating for the dignity, independence, health and community involvement of older St. Johns County residents. For more information on COA’s services, visit our website at www.coasjc.org or call us at 904-209-3700.

Columbia Restaurant’s Community Harvest Program to Benefit Council on Aging

Throughout the month of September, diners at Columbia Restaurant are invited to let their appetite do the giving while they support local non-profits including St. Johns County Council on Aging (COA).  For the 23rd year, Columbia Restaurant is offering its Community Harvest program to benefit local non-profit organizations.  All seven Columbia restaurants are participating, including the St. Augustine location at 98 St. George Street.

Through the program, Columbia Restaurant will donate 5 percent of all guests’ September lunch and dinner checks to the charitable organization chosen by their customers from a ballot provided with the check. There is no additional cost to the guest.

Over the past 22 years, the Columbia Restaurant Community Harvest has donated more than $2.6 million to non-profit organizations throughout Florida.  All Columbia locations are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. For more information, visit www.ColumbiaRestaurant.com.

The Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine is located downtown at 98 St. George Street. For more information, call 904-824-3341, or visit their website at www.ColumbiaRestaurant.com. 

“We started this program as a way to help many of the worthy non-profit groups that are so important to our communities,” said 4th generation family member and president Richard Gonzmart. “With the devastating effect of the coronavirus on the economy and overall decline in charitable donations, it’s even more important this year.”    

NEW: Strengthen your brain and combat memory loss with IMEP™ AT HOME!

COA’s Integrative Memory Enhancement Program, IMEP™, is a dynamic and innovative response to memory loss. A structured, research-based program, IMEP integrates the mind, body, and brain connections to boost cognitive reserve and minimize the progression of memory loss or dementia. IMEP employs specific cognitive and physical exercises designed for seniors, and utilizes healing modalities that support overall brain and body function.

Now it is easier than ever to participate in this powerful program which addresses memory health, early memory loss and dementia with IMEP™ AT HOME!

For more information, visit our IMEP™ page by clicking here: https://www.coasjc.org/imepsjc/. Individuals and couples who would like to participate in IMEP™ AT HOME may contact Michele Sanchez at msanchez@coasjc.org or 904-209-3700.

To find out how your organization can implement IMEP™ at your facility and begin helping those experiencing early memory loss and dementia, visit www.imeprogram.com.



Hybrid Design

Kerry Tustin (904) 814-7790,


Laura Smith (904) 540-4220,




St. Augustine, FL (April 20, 2020) –

Local marketing firm Hybrid Design was recently awarded a contract with St. Johns County to administer the county’s public transportation advertising program. Through the paratransit COA (Council on Aging) buses and the Sunshine Bus fixed route public transportation system, St. Johns County maintains a fleet of more than thirty vehicles to serve county residents with rides as far north as the Avenues Mall and as far south as DuPont Center. The new advertising program expands the bus advertising efforts that were currently in place and will generate significantly more revenue for the St. Johns County Council on Aging.

“Transit advertising is an extremely cost-effective and powerful medium for advertisers,” said Hybrid Design President and Founder Kerry Tustin. “When advertisers place their messages on these buses, they are essentially getting roaming billboards that are consistently visible to the thousands of locals and visitors on our roadways each day. Transit advertising is a growing trend both regionally and nationally. It offers exceptional visibility at lower costs than traditional billboards. We are thrilled to work with the county to maximize the use of its robust bus fleet and generate solid income for the Council on Aging.”

“We are very happy to work with Hybrid Design on this effort,” said Becky Yanni, Director of the Council on Aging. “I was delighted to learn that Hybrid had won the contract with the county. The advertising program will grow significantly under their administration, and the increased income we will see through new advertising contracts is coming at a very welcome time. This contract is good news.”

For information on advertising opportunities on St. Johns County COA or Sunshine buses, visit www.hybridstudios.net, write kerry@hybridstudios.net or laura@hybridstudios.net, or call (904) 814-7790 or (904) 540-4220.

About Hybrid Design

Founded in 2002 by Kerry Tustin, Hybrid Design has served satisfied clients in local, regional, and national markets for nearly two decades. The firm offers advertising, marketing, graphic design, digital media, and public relations. Hybrid Design also manages a large inventory of billboard and transit opportunities for advertisers to share their message with our county’s many residents and visitors. For more information, visit www.hybridstudios.net.

Senior Stressors and What You Can Do About Them

By: Sharon Wagner, SeniorFriendly.info

As we age, we face new and different stressors with each passing year. For the most part, stress in our senior years is a product of one of two categories. These are physical discomfort (health changes) and lifestyle changes brought about by things like a limited income. The trick to living your best life after retirement is to know how to adapt to these various changes.

Physical Discomfort

There are many physical changes that come with age. Some you can see, such as wrinkles and gray hair. Others, you can’t see but you can feel. Issues with your digestive system, for example. As we get older, it’s a little harder to enjoy our favorite foods. For one, we may not taste them the way we always have. Further, digestive secretions began to decline. And as News Medical Life Sciences notes, this can leave us with a smaller appetite, followed by constipation from the foods we do eat.

You can offset many dietary woes by eating plenty of fiber and drinking enough water to keep you hydrated. Both of these will keep things flowing while providing your body with some of the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Another issue that creeps up on many seniors is back pain. Advent Health Medical Group explains that older adults are at risk of degeneration of the spinal joints. Unfortunately, back pain is not only irritating, but it can also affect a critical part of your day: getting enough sleep.

There are two primary ways to alleviate back pain. These are through exercise and by changing your mattress. Lower back exercises include bent knee raises, curl ups, and leg extensions. Do make a point to talk to your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine.

As far as your mattress goes, pay attention to your sleep position (side, stomach, back, etc) and match that to a mattress that provides the right amount of support. If you find yourself spending most of your night on your side, a Purple mattress, which is both soft and firm, may do the trick. For those of you that spend the night on your back, a supportive brand like Winkbed may keep you in alignment through the overnight hours.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes that may leave you pulling your hair out include things like having to care for a sick spouse and learning to live on a limited income.

If you find yourself suddenly having to take care of your wife or husband, you may find that you sleep less, make poor dietary choices, and experience pain and strain more often than ever before.

There are a few tools that might make your burden a bit less physically demanding. One piece of furniture that can help with mobility issues is a lift chair. Starting at around $550, these are electric recliners that can lift and tilt so that your loved one can get up using mostly their own strength.

Living on a limited income is another issue that, with planning, you may be able to adjust to without a huge change in your day-to-day routine. A few ideas are to pay off your house so that your Social Security or pension checks are not going toward an expensive mortgage each month.

You may also consider swapping your personal vehicles – and the insurance and upkeep – for public transportation if you don’t venture out that often. And if you have had to quit your job to care for a spouse, you may be entitled to be paid for this labor of love if you live in one of the 15 states that pay spousal caregivers.

New issues will pop up every day. The trick is to get ahead of the worst parts of change and to embrace them. Doing things like switching your mattress and reducing your monthly bills are just a few examples of ways that you can respond to changes without reducing your quality of life.

Image via Pexels

Subaru Share the Love Supporting Seniors through Meals on Wheels

Share the Love with Vulnerable Seniors This Year


Exciting news! For the 12th year running, the Meals on Wheels network is participating in the 2019 Subaru Share the Love Event. Over the past eleven years, Subaru and its retailers have helped Meals on Wheels to deliver more than 2.2 million meals nationwide to seniors in need.


Why does Subaru support Meals on Wheels? Too many seniors are struggling to stay independent and healthy. One in four seniors lives alone in isolation and one in seven seniors might not know from where their next meal is coming. This is simply unacceptable, which is why Organization Name provides the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks to the seniors of area. This vital support keeps seniors in their own homes, where they want to be.


We’re incredibly grateful to Subaru and its Retailers for supporting our organization and the seniors we serve. With that in mind, we thought you might want to learn a little bit more about the Subaru Share the Love Event.




This November 14, 2019, through January 2, 2020, for every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased, Subaru will donate $250 to the customer’s choice of participating charities.* Meals on Wheels is one of four national participating charities and has been since the inception of the event. Through this event, as a member of Meals on Wheels America, Organization Name will receive a share of the donation from Subaru vehicles sold at participating Subaru Retailers.


You might not be in the market to purchase a new car, but if you are, please look into the Subaru Share the Love Event to learn more. If you’re not shopping for a new vehicle, you can still help by spreading the word to your family and friends. A few quick and easy ways to do that:

– Share this blog post/article!

– Share our posts about the Share the Love Event on Facebook: PROVIDE LINK. You can also do this on Twitter (@HANDLE) or Instagram (@HANDLE).


And remember: this holiday season you can ensure our senior neighbors are not forgotten, when you purchase or lease a new Subaru and select Meals on Wheels as your charity of choice.


Subaru Share the Love Is Helping Seniors Through the Meals on Wheels Program

*Disclaimer: Subaru will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased from November 14, 2019, through January 2, 2020, to four national charities designated by the purchaser or lessee. Pre-approved Hometown Charities may be selected for donation depending on retailer participation. For every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased during the campaign period, participating retailers will donate a minimum of $50 in total to their registered Hometown Charities. Purchasers/lessees must make their charity designations by January 15, 2020. The four national charities will receive a guaranteed minimum donation of $250,000 each. See your local Subaru retailer for details or visit subaru.com/share. All donations made by Subaru of America, Inc.Share the Love with Vulnerable Seniors This Year.

Stay Up to Date with the Council on Aging

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