The Santa Monica community generously came together on Sunday, Dec. 14, to donate about 8,500 pounds of non-perishable food during Meet Me Under the Fig Tree, a free annual event hosted by Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and MSD Capital.
Families gathered under the historic Moreton Bay fig tree to celebrate the season with live performances by the Santa Monica High School Orchestra and Grammy award winning pianist Bill Cunliffe.
The event hosts were Greg Goldner and Gauri Ramnath. Guests enjoyed holiday cookie decorating, hair braiding, mini manicures by Exhale Mind Body Spa, a bounce house, and a whimsical ginger bread house display, as well as meet and greets with members of Santa Monica’s Fire Department and Police Department and pictures with Santa Claus.
Additionally, families enjoyed furry four legged friends from the Los Angeles-based Best Friends Pet Adoption clinic.
Guests were also treated to a complimentary raffle, with drawings by Councilwoman Pam O’Connor, California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom, and Santa Monica firefighters, which featured prizes donated by community partners including Ben Bridge Jewelers, Helen’s Cycles, The Lobster, Del Frisco’s, Hotel by the Pier, Buca di Beppo, Parlos, FIG Restaurant, Pacific Park, Truxton’s, and Vilbrequin.
Guests delighted in culinary offerings such as hot chocolate, grilled cheese sandwiches, and apple cider from FIG Restaurant and delectable sweet treats from Perry’s at the Beach.
A special highlight of the day occurred when the raffle prize for a two-night stay at the Fairmont Miramar hotel was won by a grateful couple who were married at the hotel 32 years ago.
Attendees were encouraged to bring non-perishable food to be donated to Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) and Olympic High School.
In total, approximately 8,500 pounds of food was collected and will be distributed to deserving families in the community.
“One again, we are astounded and appreciative of the amount of food donated by Santa Monica residents,” said Alan Epstein of MSD Capital, representing the owner of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. “During this season, when everyone is extremely busy, we appreciate that Santa Monica residents came to our event and made such a strong effort to help the less fortunate in our community. We look forward to carrying on this tradition for many years to come.”
Students of Olympic High School and representatives of OPCC gathered at the Fairmont on Monday to load the donated food items onto the their trucks.
OPCC executive director John Maceri said its organization was extremely proud to have been part of such a great event.
“In addition to directly helping thousands of individuals and families during the holiday season, we hope that this event encourages even more Santa Monica residents to help those in need,” Maceri said. “Thank you to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and MSD Capital for creating such an annual celebration that not only benefits a good cause, but is fun for everyone who attended as well.”
Olympic High School principal Janie Yuguchi Gates said the event was special each year.
“We are grateful to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and MSD Capital for allowing us to be a part of this year’s event,” Gates said. “Our students were amazed by the amount of food collected. We look forward to many more events at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and can’t wait until next year’s Meet Me Under the Fig Tree.”