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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Lookout Staff

October 31, 2016 -- The Santa Monica College Police Department (SMCPD) will take part this weekend in a drive to collect items for children entering foster care, school officials announced last week.

The department will join the Manhattan Beach Police Department (MBPD) on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon for the first annual “Hope" event at MBPD headquarters, 420 15th Street in Manhattan Beach.

Members of the public are encouraged to donate new clothing, toiletries and other essentials for infants to 12 year olds entering the foster care system or transitioning to a new foster home, through the volunteer-run Hope in a Suitcase nonprofit.

“There are many injustices in this world, but the worst kind is those involving children,” said SMC Chief of Police Johnnie Adams.

“I am so glad that my colleagues in SMPD, MBPD and here at Santa Monica College share in that sentiment, and I hope that together we can play a small part in brightening the day of a child who needs to know someone cares for him or her.”

The event culminates a two-month effort involving the two departments, along with Santa Monica Police and the SMC Management Association.

Students who are part of SMC's Guardian Scholars program -- which provides support services for current or former foster youth -- will write notes of support that will go into the bags being assembled, college officials said.

“We pack each suitcase or bag with the items and love we'd want someone to give our own children if they were going through a lonely and vulnerable time,” said Hope in a Suitcase founder Marsha Todd Austen.

Austen said the nonprofit was formed because “having children enter foster care with nothing or carrying their few personal belongings in a garbage bag sends the wrong message.”

Said Manhattan Beach Police Chief Eve R. Irvine, “By providing these much needed items, it is our hope they may find comfort during this difficult time in their lives.”

For more information on Hope in a Suitcase, visit To get more details on how to donate items -- including links to online registries -- for the Hope event, contact Marcia Lewis at (310) 434-4606 or MBPD Community Affairs Officer Kristie Colombo at or (310) 802-5184.

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