The Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) and its local hospitality partners will be recognized for their community support by two Santa Monica charities, Virginia Avenue Project and Westside Shelter & Hunger Coalition, during a ceremony Friday, Oct. 29.

Virginia Avenue Project is a local charity that offers free after-school programs using the performing arts as a platform to mentor youths and foster creativity. During the Power of the Pencil Gala event Oct. 18, which celebrated the charity’s 18th year, SMCVB and its hospitality partners presented their gift of 150 pairs of TOMS Shoes to the Virginia Avenue Project children.

The Santa Monica tourism industry is being honored for its support of the Westside Shelter & Hunger Coalition, an alliance of over 30 organizations, public agencies and faith communities committed to ending hunger and homelessness. The convention and visitors bureau will represent the tourism industry in accepting the 2010 Partnership Award at the coalition’s 14th annual Celebrating Success Breakfast Oct. 29.

The event pays tribute to the individuals who have transitioned out of their homelessness state, with the support of the coalition’s member agencies.

“Santa Monica’s local organizations are a vital aspect of the community we call home. It is the hospitality industry’s responsibility to aid the communities we do business in, and we are proud that the Virginia Avenue Project and the Westside Shelter & Hunger Coalition, are just two examples of the support in our community,” said Misti Kerns, president and CEO of Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The donation of 150 pairs of shoes to the Virginia Avenue Project was part of a larger program in which SMCVB and its hospitality partners participated to demonstrate the city as a leader in sustainability and social responsibility at the July conference of Meeting Professionals International, according to the bureau.

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