Columbia Community Service Grantee Harlem Grown is a youth development organization based in Harlem, serving Title 1 Schools and low-income residents. For the month of April, Harlem Grown is partnering with ChefJJ of Fieldtrip Harlem for the HG Meals program, which will provide hot, nutritious meals to youth, families, and community members living in shelters throughout Harlem who are in economic distress. The effort began with a quick pivot on Harlem Grown’s programming and a call for help from Chef JJ and Adam Rosante of Good Eats. On their first meal-delivery run, Harlem Grown was able to provide 165 hot meals and beverages to a nearby shelter and ensure that children had access to a fresh, nutritious meal.
Tony Hillery, executive director, Harlem Grown, says this is just "Harlem helping Harlem." Many of the children served by the organization live in shelters throughout the neighborhood and are dependent on SNAP benefits. The restrictions of COVID-19 mean a large number of children are receiving their meals from "Grab & Go" school food programs to supplement their SNAP benefits. With the temporary closure of Harlem Grown urban farms, families are no longer able to receive their standard free, fresh produce. This partnership with local community restaurants ensures that the HG Meals program can provide hot nutritious meals to youth, families, and community members facing economic distress and living in shelters throughout Harlem.