Family * Travel * Food

First Choice Makes Going Back to School Easy and Fun in Columbia

Jump-Start Back-to-School event offers school supplies, backpacks, and more

Select Health of South Carolina’s First Choice health plan will host its second Jump-Start Back-to-School event of the summer, featuring back-to-school information, children’s activities, and backpacks with school supplies provided at no cost (while quantities last). The event will be held Saturday, July 29 from 9 a.m. to noon, at the First Choice Community Center, 217 Park Terrace Drive, Columbia, SC 29212. Participants are asked to register in advance by calling 1-888-676-9588. Select Health of South Carolina is the state’s oldest and largest Medicaid managed care organization and is part of the AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies.

“This year, we will be ready to serve more than 500 Columbia-area families with school-aged children, helping make sure they’re healthy and ready for the new school year,” said Select Health Market President Courtnay Thompson. “We’re very fortunate that more than 20 agencies and community partners are willing to join us and help children get the school supplies they need.”

Jump Start has served more than 15,000 families in the last 13 years and has now been expanded to locations throughout the state. Select Health’s bilingual staff will assist Spanish-speaking families, and interpretation services will be available for attendees with limited English proficiency.

“Good health is proven to help children perform their best in school,” said Dr. Kirt Caton, market chief medical officer at Select Health. “School-age children and young adults up to age 21 need yearly well visits with a primary care physician, and our staff can help First Choice members schedule these appointments with their doctors.”

Two more Jump-Start Back-to-School events are scheduled this summer: North Charleston on August 5, and Conway on August 12. Learn more by calling 1-888-676-9588 or by visiting

About First Choice by Select Health of South Carolina

Select Health of South Carolina, part of the AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies, contracts with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) to offer First Choice, the state’s oldest and largest Medicaid managed care health plan, in all 46 counties statewide. For more information about First Choice by Select Health, visit

Select Health also offers the First Choice VIP Care Plus Medicare-Medicaid plan and First Choice VIP Care (DSNP) Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan for dual eligibles in 46 counties, as well as the First Choice Next Health Insurance Marketplace® product in 17 counties. For more information about First Choice VIP Care Plus, visit For information about First Choice VIP Care, visit For more information about First Choice next, visit

About AmeriHealth Caritas

AmeriHealth Caritas is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for those most in need. Operating in 13 states and the District of Columbia, AmeriHealth Caritas serves approximately 5 million Medicaid, Medicare, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Health Insurance Marketplace® members through its integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management and specialty pharmacy services, and behavioral health services. Headquartered in Newtown Square, Pa., AmeriHealth Caritas is a mission-driven organization with more than 40 years of experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations. For more information, visit


Certified Barbeque Judging Training Class February 18 in Columbia, SC

The South Carolina Barbecue Association (SCBA) will hold a one-day seminar in Columbia to train new barbecue judges. The seminar is Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. in the recreation hall at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1715 Bull St. 

Registration for the seminar is open to SCBA members with a $50 per person fee for the class. Non-SCBA members may join SCBA prior to or while registering for the seminar. SCBA annual membership dues are $45 for an individual or $60 for a family. A catered BBQ lunch is included with the seminar.

The seminar is the first step in becoming an SCBA Certified Barbecue Judge. After completing the class, potential judges will continue their training with hands-on experience as novice judges at four SCBA-sanctioned barbecue competitions. Competitions are held around the state at festivals and fairs, as well as other community events or stand-alone BBQ contests.

Those interested in becoming SCBA-certified judges and attending the Feb. 26th seminar may visit to register for the seminar and may also join the SCBA. 


New HomeGoods Store Opening November 10th in Columbia, SC

HomeGoods, the leading off-price home dĂ©cor store in the U.S and worldwide, will open a new store in Columbia, SC on November 10th, 2022. The new store is located in Trenholm Plaza at 4840 Forest Drive, 9A. 

HomeGoods provides an ever-changing selection of high-quality merchandise at excellent values. With prices generally 20%-60% below full-price retailers’ (including department, specialty, and major online retailers) regular prices on comparable merchandise, the HomeGoods shopping experience is fun and inviting. From top brands and designers to exciting finds from all over the world, HomeGoods offers an inspiring selection in countless styles for every room of the house. 

“Our amazing values, brand names, and vast assortment make HomeGoods an exciting destination for shoppers,” states John Ricciuti, President of HomeGoods. “With a large variety of merchandise from around the world, customers will always find thrilling values in our treasure hunt shopping experience. We are happy to provide Columbia, SC with a new HomeGoods.”

HomeGoods merchandise departments include furniture, rugs, lighting, decorative accessories, kitchen and dining, bedding, bath, pet accessories, storage, workspace, outdoor, gourmet, wellness and more. 

GRAND OPENING: November 10th, 2022 from 8am-10pm

Local shoppers can enjoy the newest HomeGoods store opening on November 10th, 2022 from 8am-10pm. All stores, including the newest openings, have updated health and wellness practices to help protect the health and well-being of customers and Associates. To learn more, visit 


Location: Trenholm Plaza at 4840 Forest Drive, 9A, Columbia, SC, 29206.

Size: Approximately 23, 588 Sq. Ft., respectively

Regular hours: Monday-Sat 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sun 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Store hours may shift. For more up to date hours and additional HomeGoods locations, please visit

HomeGoods expects to fill approximately 65 full- and part-time positions.


In celebration of its new store location, HomeGoods will contribute to the Columbia, SC community by presenting a $10,000 donation to Harvest Hope Food Bank. Harvest Hope is South Carolina’s largest food bank, providing over 20 million meals on average to neighbors in need across the Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate. 


HomeGoods operates more than 846 stores across the country and is a division of The TJX Companies, Inc., the leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the U.S. and worldwide. As of January 29, 2022, TJX operated a total of 4,689 stores in nine countries, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, and Australia, and five e-commerce sites. TJX's press releases and financial information are available at 

To shop HomeGoods online, visit and for more design tips, inspiration and more, visit us on Instagram at @homegoods, Facebook at, Pinterest at and Twitter at @homegoods. Shoppers can also share their online and in-store finds on social with #HomeGoodsFinds. 


Alternative to CBD Shops in Columbia, SC

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has become increasingly popular throughout the United States, especially in places like Columbia, South Carolina. This beautiful state has seen a surge in CBD shops in recent years. However, for the average consumer, walking into one of these shops can be daunting. How can you know if the products are trustworthy? How do you avoid wasting your hard-earned bucks?

Here, we'll guide you through the recent cannabidiol craze - and the available alternatives to CBD shops in Columbia.
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The Rising Popularity of CBD 

The popularity of CBD has snowballed in recent years. Nowadays, you can walk into numerous stores in Columbia, promoting their cannabidiol products. Some gas stations even sell this product.

A ​study by Medical News Today​ investigating the public interest in CBD demonstrated that Google Searches for it significantly increased since 2014 and are still increasing. In April 2019, there were about 6.4 million CBD searches. Another ​study by USA Today​ published in the peer-review JAMA Network Open shows a 160.4 increase in searches in 2018, compared to the previous year.

The explosive interest in this herbal product has to do with two things: federal approval and hemp-derived properties.

Cannabidiol is a derivative of the hemp plant. In 2018, it gained approval from multiple federal regulators following the ​US Farm Bill legalizing industrial hemp​. With federal approval, numerous manufacturers got the green light to create products centered around cannabidiol.

CBD also comes from the hemp plant, and that distinction is crucial. People often confuse cannabidiol with marijuana, but hemp is a different strain of the cannabis plant than marijuana. Marijuana has THC, which gets users high. Cannabidiol from hemp does not contain THC. Indeed, the 2018 Farm Bill strictly stated that cannabidiol sold to the public had to have less than 3% THC.

The rising popularity of CBD has been incredible for many people. People from all walks of life have enjoyed this herbal product in all-forms, including the use of ​water soluble CBD oil​ as a solution. Seniors with health issues, young people for experimentation, mothers seeking natural solutions for maternal aches - all types of people have turned to CBD.

However, with increased availability come several risks, making it necessary to find alternatives to local CBD shops. The only thing growing faster than CBD's popularity is confusion about what exactly it is, how it works, how you can use it, and where you can get it.
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Why Seek an Alternative to In-Store Options? 

Cannabidiol products in stores may not be the same quality as the CBD products online. Besides issues of availability, people seek alternatives for various reasons, as discussed below:

Reliability and Quality Guarantee

The increasing popularity in CBD oil has, unfortunately, come with an increasing number of companies that are deceptive to consumers. Some of these companies take advantage of consumers and add harmful components that may have potential side effects.
With online options, you can vet the products by checking the seller's quality guarantee. Most online CBD vendors publish their lab reports.

These reports indicate the quality, quantity, and source of cannabidiol in the products you purchase. The result? You get an assurance of the manufacturer's reliability and a quality guarantee.

We suggest that you purchase CBD oil directly from a reputable manufacturer's website to avoid scams from deceptive entrepreneurs. It will help you avoid imitations, and you might also get offers and discounts, including a free trial. You will also receive products that have been thoroughly tested and researched.


Alternatives to CBD shops in Columbia may also be desirable for availability. Going to your local shop to pick up some products may seem convenient - until it's bedtime, and you realize that you've run out of your CBD.

Online options mean you can shop for products when you want, where you want. You don't have to worry about running out as long as you put in your order to have it delivered securely and discreetly.

Additionally, many CBD Shops in Columbia have closed down following the current economic recession. The pandemic also has made some people leery of going into crowded retailers. For convenience and health, online alternatives can be lifesavers.


Cannabidiol is available in numerous forms, but your local shop might only carry a handful of products. The retailer has to think about their business, too, which means they won't carry the entire stock of available products in case they don't sell. The limited selection means you're missing out on the variety!

When you shop for cannabidiol, you can find:

● CBD oils, water-soluble oils, and tinctures - you can place these sublingually or add to any beverage or meal
● Edibles - CBD comes in a wide range of products to eat and drink. They include gummies, chocolates, cakes, etc.
● Vape juices
● Pills and capsules
● Topicals, balms, creams
● Self-care - lip balms, bath bombs, eye serums
● Pet products - dog treats, canine tinctures

Find CBD Oil Online Today!

It's crucial to make sure you buy the best quality products from approved suppliers. If you're looking for alternatives to CBD shops in Columbia, SC, your best bet is to shop online.

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Soda City Certified™ App to List All Local Companies Open During COVID-19

In the event that you live in Columbia, SC or surrounding cities, I thought I would share this with you.

Effective July 1, Soda City Certified™ (SCC), Columbia’s only mobile application that aims to help residents and visitors explore our Capitol City, will include all local companies open during COVID-19.

Open businesses in the following areas are encouraged to participate: Downtown Columbia, Forest Acres, West Columbia, Cayce, Harbison, Chapin, Northeast Columbia, Southeast Columbia, Lexington, Blythewood, Elgin, Irmo, St. Andrews, and Pontiac.

“The impact of COVID-19 has devastated all industries in the Columbia metropolitan area. By featuring restaurants, small businesses, and entrepreneurs, users will gain real-time access to businesses by encouraging everyone to shop local,” said Khali Gallman, Soda City Certified™ app creator. “Our main goal is to stimulate Columbia’s economy while practicing social distancing. Be safe and let’s stay connected.”

Since the official launch of SCC in January 2020, the app has reached 1100+ downloads and averages 5,000-8,000 social media views weekly. For more information or add your business on the app, visit Call 803.922.5310 or email for more information.

About Soda City Certified™ Mobile App

Founded in 2019, Soda City Certified™ is a mobile application formatted for Apple iTunes and Google Play smartphones that allows users to receive incentives for frequenting Columbia, South Carolina’s most notable events, venues, restaurants, historical sites, and attractions. The app is available for free in both app stores. All rights are reserved. Visit for details.
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Home Team BBQ Columbia Launches Daily Specials MON thru WED

Meatloaf, Pastrami and Prime Rib…oh my! Home Team BBQ is kicking things up a notch by introducing daily specials every Monday through Wednesday, effective immediately. The ongoing specials showcase what Home Team BBQ does best — juicy, smoked meats with out-of-this-world flavor packed in every bite. Guests are invited to make their trip to Home Team BBQ Columbia a three-day affair and get a taste of each finger lickin’ special for themselves. Home Team BBQ looks forward to seeing you every Monday (and Tuesday, and Wednesday!).

- Daily Specials –

Mondays @ 4 p.m.
Smoked Meatloaf
Gravy + 2 Sides
Tuesdays All Day
As a Platter or Reuben
Wednesdays @ 4 p.m.
Smoked Prime Rib
Au Jus + Horseradish Cream + 2 Sides

WHAT:   Home Team BBQ Columbia Launches Daily Specials MON thru WED

WHEN:   Mondays at 4 p.m.
              Tuesdays All Day
              Wednesdays at 4 p.m.

WHERE:  Home Team BBQ Columbia
               700 Harden Street
               Columbia, SC 29205

Check out the full menu here.

STAY IN THE CONVERSATION: @HomeTeamBBQCOLA | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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