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Miramar Holiday Gathering Raises Funds, Collects Food for Santa Monica's Most Needy


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By Lookout Staff

December 13, 2017 -- More than 1,000 Santa Monica residents gathered under the Fairmont Miramar Hotel's iconic Moreton Bay fig tree Sunday to usher in the holidays and help the city's most needy by donating food and raising funds.

The "Meet Me Under the Fig Tree" community gathering -- which has rapidly become an annual holiday tradition -- featured live music, snow, a petting zoo and the chance to snap pictures with Santa.

Meet Me Under the Fig Tree community gathering
More than 1,000 people attended Sudaay's "Meet Me Under the Fig Tree" community gathering (Photos courtesy of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel)

Sponsored by the hotel's owner, MSD Capital, the event raised more than $5,000 for the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) and collected more than 11,000 pounds of food for The People Concern, Santa Monica's largest homeless service agency.

“We are humbled to once again to be part of this event that benefits our most vulnerable neighbors and gives the community in its entirety a reason to come together and celebrate,” said John Maceri, executive director of The People Concern.

“Thousands of individuals and families will be directly helped by those who generously decided to give," Maceri said.

Funds to benefit PAL, which serves youngsters between the ages of 6 and 17, were raised during a silent auction of Fairmont Hotel room stays throughout California.

“We love being a part of Meet Me Under the Fig Tree, and I could not be more impressed with the event this year,” said Eula Fritz, Director of Santa Monica PAL.

“The Fairmont Miramar is such a big part of our community and they once again put on an amazing community event supporting important charitable organizations,” Fritz said.

Hosted by KTLA personalities Wendy Burch and Eric Spillman, this year's Meet Me Under the Fig Tree gathering featured live performances by Grammy award winning pianist Bill Cunliffe and the Santa Monica High School Orchestra, and vocalist Savi.

Guests also were treated to holiday cookie decorating, hair braiding by Glam & Go, a bounce house, arts and crafts and a whimsical ginger bread house display, hotel officials said.

Miramar officials pose with donated food
Posing with donated food are (from left) Dustin Peterson, vice president of The Athens Group; Kait Peters, development director for The People Concern; Jackie Kerns, public relations director for the Miramar, and General Manager Matthew Lehman.

Santa Monica Police Department Mounted Police and representatives from Heal the Bay and the American Red Cross were on hand to meet and greet the guests.

Once again, Santa was the big draw, posing with the kids for pictures that parents can access on the Friends of the Miramar Facebook Page in the coming week.

Culinary offerings included grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken shawarma and three types of hot chocolate from FIG Restaurant, and food from Santa Monica partners including Lunetta All Day, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Vanilla Bake Shop, Panini Kabob Grill and Crityk.

A complimentary raffle featured prizes donated by community partners including Arclight Theater, Fritto Misto, Healthy Spot, Exhale, Helen’s Bikes, King’s Seafood/Water Grill, FIG Restaurant and a one-night stay at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows.

“We are always impressed by the generosity of our community, with significant donations that benefit such worthwhile local charities,” said Ellis O’Connor of MSD Capital’s Hospitality Group.


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