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Miramar's Annual Holiday Event Collects Nearly Four Tons of Food for the Needy
By Lookout Staff
December 18, 2019 -- More than 1,000 Santa Monica residents donated nearly four tons of food at this year's annual Meet Me Under the Fig Tree celebration hosted by the Miramar Hotel this month.
Held Sunday December 8, the free event has become a staple of the Holiday season as residents gather for a day of fun and giving under the historic Moreton Bay Fig Tree, the second largest of its kind in California.
The 7,300 pounds of non-perishable food collected this year brings the total gathered at the annual event to more than 76,000 pounds over the past eight years.
“Santa Monicans went above and beyond in their generosity this year," said Ellis O’Connor of MSD Partners.
"We are proud to continue this unique Santa Monica holiday tradition and help those most in need in our community.”
The food will be distributed by The Westside Food Bank to "those families in the community most in need," said officials of the Miramar and its owner MSD Partners, L.P.
“We are always grateful to be part of this wonderful event,” said Genevieve Riutort, Chief Development Officer of The Westside Food Bank.
“Thousands of individuals and families will be directly helped by those who generously decided to give," Riutort said.
The Miramar and MSD also partnered with Santa MoniCARES for a business clothing donation drive.
The drive helps provide "ready-to-wear interview clothing and accessories" to Chrysalis, a Santa Monica social service agency that helps low-income and homeless individuals find work.
“Santa Monica truly comes together for Meet Me Under the Fig Tree,” said Misti Kerns, President/CEO of Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, the organization that launched Santa MoniCARES.
“We are excited that we could once again be a part of this annual cherished event," Kerns said.
In addition to collecting food and clothing, the event is a time for Santa Monicans to gather under the 121-year-old tree to celebrate the holidays.
Once again, residents of the balmy beach town played in the snow, enjoyed live performances and took part in a variety of games.
This year's performers included Grammy-winning jazz artist Bill Cunliffe, the Santa Monica High School Chamber Orchestra and Santa Monica Playhouse.
Hosted once again by KTLA personalities Wendy Burch and Eric Spillman, the celebration offered holiday cookie decorating, two bounce houses, animal adoption, arts & crafts and a whimsical ginger bread house display.
On hand to meet and greet the guests were members of the Santa Monica Police Department Mounted Police and the Santa Monica Fire Department, who brought a Fire Engine for children to explore.
Guests were also treated to a complimentary raffle with featured prizes donated by community partners and culinary offerings that included hot chili, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hot chocolate from the hotel's FIG Restaurant.
“Giving back at Meet Me Under the Fig Tree is my favorite part of the holiday season,” said Matthew Lehman, General Manager of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows.
“There is nothing like welcoming over a thousand Santa Monicans to celebrate the season under the majestic Moreton Bay Fig Tree.”
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and MSD Partners hosted a beautiful afternoon of music and fun for everyone," Kerns said, "and most importantly provided an opportunity for our community to give back.”
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