HARLEM, NY — Times are tough in Harlem this holiday season for residents and small businesses alike, but a number of programs are offering ways for families to avoid hunger and for shops to keep the lights on.

Food drives

A number of food drives and giveaways are being planned as the coronavirus has spiked the number of food insecure New Yorkers, and all Americans, by the millions.

At 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, free produce will be given out on East 120th Street and Madison Avenue (corner of Marcus Garvey Park) by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and the Hunts Point Produce Market.

In East Harlem, the New York Academy of Medicine is hosting a food drive to deliver groceries to families in need. To sign up to receive groceries or to volunteer with the distribution, fill out this Google Form. (Note: volunteer slots are limited due to social distancing requirements.)

Further uptown, the nonprofit Brotherhood/Sister Sol hosts food giveaways outside its Hamilton Heights headquarters that are open to the public every other week. (In the weeks in between, the giveaways are open to members only).Bro/Sis is also raising money for a holiday food drive, seeking donations to provide full Thanksgiving meals and groceries for hundreds of its members.

To find a food bank in Harlem, or anywhere in the city, use this searchable map.Meanwhile, the East Harlem Small Business Grant program is still accepting applications after already giving out more than $2 million. The grant program is funded from the 2014 sale of the former Pathmark supermarket property on the corner of East 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, for $39 million, and administered by Union Settlement and several local elected officials.This summer, Harlem Assemblymember Inez Dickens introduced a bill in the State Assembly that would set up a New York state small business protection program, providing loans and grants to entities with fewer than 100 employees and who did not receive any CARES Act funding. The bill is still in committee.