Santa Monica Place and the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL), along with the Bayside District Corporation, have partnered for the second annual “Best Gift Ever Drive,” one of several “Winterlit” holiday programs and events in Santa Monica.

The Best Gift Ever Drive will bring presents to hundreds of children who might otherwise not receive gifts this holiday season.

The drive began November 12th and will run until Thursday, December 20th. Community members and local businesses may donate gifts at several drop locations. The Police Activities League will then distribute the gifts to children in the program.

Contributors to the Best Gift Ever Drive may participate in several ways. Program participants may drop off an unwrapped gift for children ages six to 17 at the Winterlit Gift Wrap Station, in the 1400 block of Third Street Promenade; Santa Monica Place Guest Services on Level 2; or at participating Santa Monica Starbucks Coffee locations. For store listing, www.winterlit.com/.

Contributors also may purchase custom Winterlit Visa Gift Cards and donate them directly to the Police Activities League, either at Santa Monica Place or any participating Starbucks location. Cards may be purchased at Santa Monica Place Guest Services on Level 2, or from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the complimentary gift wrap station on the Third Street Promenade (in $20, $50 and $100 denominations only) on the following dates:

ñ Thursday through Sunday, November 23rd to 25th (until 6 p.m.);

ñ Saturday and Sunday, December 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th; and

ñ Saturday, December 15th, through Monday, December 24th (until 6 p.m.).

Community volunteers will help wrap the donated gifts from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, December 20th, at the “It’s a Wrap Party” in Santa Monica Place, Room 189, Level 1 near Macy’s.

To help spotlight the gift-giving drive, local community leaders and “influential residents” are being asked to tell stories about the best gift they ever received — and to in turn donate a similar gift, which will be given to children in the program.

These stories will be displayed at Santa Monica Place this holiday season and at local Starbucks stores that are serving as gift-collection locations.

Police Activities League youths are compiling their holiday wish lists and their letters will be displayed on a billboard at Santa Monica Place, giving community members ideas for gift donations.

“Last year, the Best Gift Ever Drive gave gifts to more than 250 Santa Monica children,” said Ashley Walkley, marketing director of Santa Monica Place. “This holiday season, we hope to extend our effort to even more children in our local area and are looking for continued community support.”

Starbucks also will sponsor “Ice at Santa Monica,” a skating rink at Fifth Street and Arizona Avenue, from Wednesday, November 21st, through Sunday, January 6th. In support of the Best Gift Ever Drive, the rink will host the Police Activities League Friday, November 29th.

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