Sylvia Woods opened up the then-luncheonette in 1962 and to this day, her family honors her wishes.
"This is her legacy, this is what she's always done, told us you can never beat me giving, and that's what she told us - always be there for those in need," says Kenneth Woods.
The Harlem community was hit particularly hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legendary soul food restaurant historically held Sunday gospel brunch but has now started Sunday supper, providing meals for anyone in need.
The eatery is partnering with CARES and the National Action Network. On the first day, several hundred people came out.
"It shows a need - people wouldn't stand in line with carts if they didn't need the food," said Al Sharpton.
Most food pantries are closed on Sunday - this will fill that void.
Melzzie Williams was first, and got there hours before it opened.
"This is a good thing, because there's a shortage. You go in the grocery store, it's hard to get what you need, so I appreciate it," said Williams.
The team at Sylvia's says it is getting calls from people all over the world - folks who have been to the restaurant and now want to help. There is a way.
"Go to our website and purchase a family meal, and we'll put a family meal in the gift packages, like we did to say," said Trenness Woods-Black.
They are opening their doors when so many others are closed.
"When our country suffers and bleeds, Harlem and similar communities are hemorrhaging," said Kenneth Woods.
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