NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Hope for Harlem block party returned Saturday.

The event, now in its second year, is being described as a relief opportunity for the community.

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“Just an idea we all had to just give back to the community and give hope for folks coming out of the pandemic. And also helping kids out, getting back to school, just trying to give a sense of normalcy back to people,” said Devon Lomax, political director for District Council 9.

The block party started at noon outside First Corinthian Baptist Church on 116th Street.

Thousands of free items were available, including groceries, stocked backpacks for school and even job opportunities.

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“We had a painter apprentice recruitment and we’re actually going to be giving out some cards for our apprentice program,” said Crystal Garcia of District Council 9.

There was also a mobile COVID vaccination unit.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we want to make sure that it’s a good sign that Harlem is back, and Harlem’s coming back,” Lomax said.

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Organizers started the event last year to help with food shortages during the pandemic.

CBSNewYork Team