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More than 1,000 Attend Miramar Holiday Gathering, Donate Food and Clothing for Needy


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By Lookout Staff

December 14, 2018 -- More than 1,000 Santa Monica residents played in the snow, enjoyed live music and games and donated food and clothing for the needy at Meet Me Under the Fig Tree Sunday at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel.

The annual community gathering -- which has become a Santa Monica holiday tradition -- gathered more than 8,000 pounds of food for the Westside Food Bank, Miramar officials said.

Guests also donated hundreds of items of business clothing for clients of Chrysalis-Santa Monica, a job placement agency for the city's poor and homeless.

Sponsors and organizers of Meet Me Under the Fig Tree with donations
Sponsors and organizers of Meet Me Under the Fig Tree with donations Sponsors and organizers of Meet Me Under the Fig Tree with donations (Courtesy Fairmont Miramar)

In addition, a silent auction of hotel stays raised more than $2,500 to benefit Santa MoniCARES, a coalition of Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) representatives and community partners.

“Once again, Meet Me Under the Fig Tree was a magical afternoon enjoyed by Santa Monicans young and old”, said Matthew Lehman, General Manager of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows.

“This year we welcomed over a thousand members of our community to experience the joys of the season underneath the majestic Moreton Bay Fig Tree.”

The event -- hosted by KTLA personalities Wendy Burch and Eric Spillman -- featured live performances by the Santa Monica High School Chamber Orchestra and Jazz Combo and Walk Street Blues.

Guests also enjoyed holiday cookie decorating, hair braiding by Glam + Go, manicures by Exhale Spa, bounce houses and animal adoption

Other offerings included a new Virtual Reality experience, arts and crafts, a whimsical ginger bread house display and a complimentary raffle.

And, as he does every year, Santa Claus made an appearance and posed for pictures with the girls and boys.

Other featured guests included members of the Santa Monica Police Department and its Mounted Police and the Santa Monica Fire Department, which brought an old and a new Fire Engine for children to enjoy.

The food and funds collected will provide 10,000 meals for local people in need, said Genevieve Riutort, Westside Food Bank Chief Development Officer.

Nearly half of our food collected goes to local children, officials said.

“Attendees went above and beyond in their generosity this year," said Ellis O’Connor of MSD Capital’s Hospitality Group, which owns the Miramar and co-sponsored the event.

"We are fortunate to be part of a community that believes in helping those in need and we hope that this event inspires even more giving this holiday season.”


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