The spirit of the holiday is being felt across the city as people come together to celebrate the Christmas season with food, family, friends and good cheer. There is also a sense of giving back as many people in the community volunteer their time to help others.

Christmas at the National Action Network

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) is hosting its annual Christmas event at its House of Justice headquarters in Harlem on Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. NAN is feeding the community and giving out toys to children. Local elected officials and community leaders will also be on hand.

East Harlem seniors sing away the holidays

East Harlemites of all ages celebrated the season this week at Carter Burden/Leonard Covello Senior Center (Covello). Covello is a program of the Carter Burden Network (CBN).

Kindergarteners from St. Ann school visited with the seniors, delivered holiday cards, and sang Christmas carols. Following the visit, The Carter Burden Network Singers, a chorus made up of about 25 seniors, performed a holiday concert conducted by volunteer choral director Peter Hill.

East River Plaza in East Harlem surprises local families with Christmas trees

East River Plaza on behalf of the Blumenfeld Development Group. Ltd. and Brookfield Properties presented an early Christmas gift to 11 families by raffling off Christmas trees that are being used by the Plaza for its Holiday Festival. Plaza visitors had an opportunity to enter the free raffle when visiting the Festival which included performances by Vy Higginsen’s Sing Harlem Choir and pictures with Santa.

The Holiday Festival is a continued effort by the East River Plaza to give back and incorporate the local community into special events throughout the year which have included: a mural painting exhibit, Save the Gates presentation and a Fall Festival.

Christmas Day candlelight memorial at Grand Central to honor “Mama Doe”

On Christmas Day at 11 a.m., nonprofit The Doe Fund will host its annual Mama Doe Memorial at Grand Central Terminal. The Mama Doe Memorial is an annual tradition that honors the woman whose life and name inspired the creation of The Doe Fund. The organization has since become a national model for addressing the crises of homelessness and recidivism, helping more than 23,000 men reclaim their lives through paid work. Leading the Mama Doe Memorial will be more than one hundred men from The Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able program. Founder and President of The Doe Fund, George T. McDonald, will deliver welcoming remarks, followed by brief remarks from noted civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, prayers from Reverend Alfonso Wyatt, and a speech by Ready, Willing & Able Supervisor Jesse Noel.

Brooklyn non-profit Don’t 4Get Me and We Say What They Can’t Radio host community Christmas party for homeless families

This holiday season a Brooklyn based non-profit “Don’t 4Get Me” in partnership with online radio outlet, “We Say What They Can’t” held their 4th Annual Christmas Giftback at JHS 292 located at 301 Vermont Street, for families currently living in shelters. This holiday party was a fun filled day of food, music, games, manicures and haircuts for the children, and a delivery of presents from Santa Claus.This annual Christmas Giftback was a chance for families to be able to fellowship together for the holidays. Since its inaugural year, the Christmas Giftback has continued to grow in number of individuals attending and supporters making monetary contributions and donating everything from toys to resources to time. This year well over 200 homeless families had the advantage of sharing in traditional holiday experiences liked festive food and comradery. Additionally, children between the ages of 2-16 were able to leave with gifts to wake up to on Christmas.

32nd Police Precinct amd The Migdol Family Foundation host holiday party for Harlem families

The 32nd Police Precinct of Harlem and the Migdol Family Foundation teamed up to host a jubilant holiday party for area families featuring presents, pizza, music and games. More than 250 people enjoyed the party and received holiday gifts. Families left the event with big smiles and warm feelings. The event, held Thursday at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center, provided a great opportunity for law enforcement professionals to connect with the Harlem neighborhood in which they work. State Senator Brian Benjamin joined in the fun, wishing families holiday cheer.