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Movement underway to boost mom-and-pop businesses in Chinatown

Campaign aims to bring more visitors to Chinatown
Campaign aims to bring more visitors to Chinatown 02:47

NEW YORK -- As we get into the holiday season, a new campaign kicked off Tuesday that hopes to bring more people to Chinatown in Manhattan, and the many Chinatowns across the city and across the country.

The goal is to save communities that are still facing challenges from anti-Asian hate to business shutdowns, CBS2's Cindy Hsu reported.

You can help by heading to Chinatown to shop and eat. Right now, 98 percent of businesses in Chinatown in Lower Manhattan are mom-and-pop shops, and in the last two years it has lost more than 150 businesses.

READ MOREChinatown's Museum of Chinese in America looks to amplify long overlooked history with new expansion

Grace Young is a world renowned cook book author and is leading the fight to revitalize these important communities filled with hard-working families.

"Two to three hours just to set up a stand, working seven days a week, standing 10-12 hours a day despite the hottest sun and the coldest days. Every business in Chinatown has a story like this," Young said.

Cookbook author calls on people to support Chinatowns 05:11

Young is the recipient of this year's James Beard Humanitarian Award for all the work she's doing to save Chinatown communities across the country.

With the award comes a $20,000 grant that she's donating to two small businesses in Chinatown -- 40 Division Street Trading, a butcher shop that's been fighting eviction, and KK Discount, which just reopened after a deadly fire in the apartments above that shut it down for six months.

Norina Li spoke about the fire that was deemed an accident and the pain her family suffered, especially her father.

"I still remember the sounds of the water gushing down our walls and ceilings," Li said. "What was most excruciating was seeing the pain and fear in his eyes. Sorry, getting emotional. I said I would never do this, but here I am, but now happy tears because seven months ago, if you told me I would be standing here in front of our store, I wouldn't have believed you, but here I am."

FLASHBACKChinatown businesses not giving up, trying to recoup losses 2 years into pandemic

To help all the businesses in Chinatown survive, a new social media campaign called Support Chinatowns has just kicked off. To join, just post a photo or video on your social media showing your love for Chinatown.

"Stand in your local Chinatown, perhaps in your favorite restaurant, give a shout out for must-have menu item or something you like to shop for, or share a favorite Chinatown memory," Young said.

READ MOREYu & Me Books: Lucy Yu's Chinatown bookstore focuses on immigrant stories

Hsu put up a post from one of her favorite spots and some of the best dim sum dishes to try. Don't forget to use the hashtag #supportchinatowns.

While Chinatown in Lower Manhattan is the largest in the country, there are actually nine Chinatowns throughout the city, including in Flushing and East Harlem. So you have lots of spots to visit.

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