Long Lines For Free Holiday Food Vouchers

LITTLE HAVANA (CBS4) – Hundreds of South Floridians lined up before dawn in Little Havana for a chance to feed their families this holiday.

As part of the Latin Chamber of Commerce’s annual holiday basket giveaway, representatives from the organization handed out food vouchers on Flagler Street between 14th and 15th Avenues in Little Havana.

Some people began to line up last Friday. Many of those who waited in line for hours were either unemployed or they live on a fixed income and can’t afford any extras.

“It’s very, very hard,” said Mosas Hernandez. “We need something free because right now,  I lost my job, I need to pay my rent, so believe me it’s very hard.”

By mid-morning, thousands waited in a line which wrapped around the block outside the voucher distribution location. Concerned about safety, the City of Miami Police Department was in attendance to keep order and look after the sick and elderly.

Those who received a voucher Wednesday will return on December 14th and exchange it for bags of food.

Each voucher can be redeemed for five bags of groceries worth $120. They are filled with pork, rice, beans, milk, bread and other delicious items which are often used in a traditional Noche Buena dinner.

This is the 26th year the Latin American Chamber of Commerce has given Christmas food away. It began with a holiday gift bag for just ten families. The organization now provides families with food bags, truckloads of food that are  donated by several companies

Mario Gutierrez is the Chamber’s President. “This year was a little more difficult.”

In all his years doing this, Gutierrez said he has rarely seen the demand so high, the need so great.

“It was tough to get donations?” asked CBS4’s Stephen Stock.

“It was tough for everybody. Tough for everybody,” Guitierrez told him.

Perhaps no one symbolized the change in economic fortunes more than Angela Llamas who, with her friends and family, stood in line for more than 24 hours.

“Who wants to be here? Not me. It’s just tough,” said Llamas, who said the food vouchers are a necessity for her family who are all out of work and out of luck.  “This is actually the first year this has happened. Usually my mom comes and we give it other people who really need it. But now we’re the ones who need it the most. It sucks really bad.”

The Chamber finished giving away all 3,000 vouchers in two hours. Even so, the line of people continued to snake around the block leading organizers to conclude they could have given away twice as many vouchers this year, because the  need is that great.

  • Minu M Ramsey

    Seems to me that it’s time for an illegal immigrant raid… but even better, how do you like Obama now?
    Are you not aware that this is HIS economy? Vote NOPE in 2012

    • oatka

      “how do you like Obama now?”

      They won’t/can’t make the connection and will vote for him again in 2012 because “it’s all Bush’s fault”.

  • Rod Miller

    God Bless those who help those lest fortunate!

    • http://ny9solyndra.wordpress.com NY9Solyndra

      less or less or least?

    • Pauli Gela

      How many are illegal alien free loaders?

  • Tom Walter

    “Free” No Obla, But Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie, Mine Mine Mine “Free” Yeah, Sure.

    • jasperddbgghost

      Obama Anthem:

      All Hail the Messiah
      Obama, Obama
      The path to the new Socialist Motherland!
      Our Savior, our Savior
      Obama, Obama
      The leader more famous than Lindsay Lohan
      Bow down and praise The One
      Give him your money and your guns
      Give us a country
      That makes your wife proud!
      Lord Barry heal the bitter ones:
      White and Clinging to faith and to guns
      Hope for the change
      Of the hope of the change!

  • Victor

    Times are tough so I am waiting in line for a voucher for $120 worth of food. Thank God I have my cell phone to talk to mis amigos while I sit in line for free stuff!

    • Tom Walter

      You beat me to it amigo.

    • Bill

      The phone is free too. You pay for it under “universal service charge” on your bill

    • JRHowosso

      Yup that was my first impression…………

    • JByrd42

      And they work under the table, pay very little, if any taxes and still ask for handouts. America, home of the handouts. Gotta love socialism.

      • Kevin Pearson

        Most waiters and bartenders don’t report their tips and don’t pay taxes on them either, regardless of their national origin, What’s your point?

    • George W. Axl Rosebush

      And later when I go home I can watch the news on my 46″ flatscreen and see footage of me!

      • Leroy

        I see it everyday when I go home from work and cut through low-income government subsidized housing, Rent a Center or Aaron’s trucks pulled up onto the yards unloading huge wide-screens with a pregnant teenager holding the door open, and yakking on a cell phone telling all her friends to come over..
        Satellite dishes festoon almost every yard along with a vehicle with rims that cost of fortune.
        Must be nice being nouveau poor. I get up Mon-Fri at 5:00 in the morning and get home at 6:30 – 7:00 at night, and I have to drive through that junk and it just irks me to no end.
        I am just plain tired of supporting these parasites, and just as tired of supporting those banksters and Wall Streeters who proclaim, “If we don’t do something now by tomorrow morning we are all doomed.” They all can go to Hades for all I care, I’m just dog tired.

  • Tom Walter

    Looks Like The “Amigo” Has Enough $ To Make Cell Phone Call’s To Old Mexico, Eh?

    • Chicago Nick

      I noticed that right away too Tom ! LOL

      but then that’s another Oblamo handout which it was just proven in one city that the free welfare phones Obama hands out are being abused!!!!!!! Gee what a shocker huh? Just Google “Free cell phone fraud out of control in Ohio”

      Arrrrriiiiiibbbbbaaa AMERICA Andele Andele!!….land of the everything free for me !!!! WOO WOO!

      • Victor


        Free cell phone for him!!! Check your cell bill and find the embedded ‘tax’ that we pay for him/ them to sit in line with one hand out and the other holding the phone to his ear!!

  • Chicago Nick

    Gee, any bets out there that these are the very same people who are on the welfare rolls generation after generation? Not a single person in that pic looks like they’ve worked in their lives.

    It’s one thing helping folks who’ve just hit the Oblamo Obamanomics Speed Bump like I’m sure some of those folks are, but another thing to hand out food to people already getting food stamps and welfare too!

    That’s what FOOD STAMPS ARE FOR, not to cash in for 10 cents on the dollar for an hours worth of crack rocks which MOST OF THEM ARE IN LITTLE HAVANA and then run down to the food pantry to load up on groceries!!

  • AVM

    Keep importing bums ,when the country already is in debt .Good plan for anarchy ,not America .

  • JustAGuy

    I wonder how many of them who are now unemployed had jobs the day they voted for Obama back in 2008.

  • joe

    yup. I’m just waiting for my free turkey, talking on my cell phone.

    • Kevin Pearson

      Apparently you didn’t read the article. Turkey is not on the menu of a Buena Noche, but pork is.

  • EnglishTeacherNot

    “They are filled pork, rice, beans…etc” …bad grammar.

    “truckloads of food that donated by several companies” …bad grammar again, but wait, do you mean those evil companies?

    Dumb down America certainly has worked in the journalism sector.

    • jbspry

      They are filled with pork, rice, beans, milk, bread and other delicious items which are often used in a traditional Noche Buena dinner.

      “other delicious items”…sounds more like a sales pitch than a news item. I believe this entire story is a press release written by the charity itself.
      PS: Not all of us would consider pork and beans “delicious”.

      • jbspry

        You don’t maybe have a nice Yanqui Pot Roast in one of them bags do you?

  • Chuck

    let’s see, $120 worth of food converts on the local street to how much in cash for drugs and alcohol….?

    • Pete Lanteri

      About $500 I’d guess. lol.

  • jer

    at least take a picture of somebody without a cell phone

    • bikertrash

      What about all thr ones who show up in thir escalades on their way to the methadone clinic

      • SpfldJimbo

        Wouldn’t be surprised……:>)

    • BARRY'S CT. SSN 042-68-4425

      “Bring a valid Social Security Number with you”

      Well, that leaves Obama out.

    • S

      Several people need assistance and if you can help, please do

      Go to: Dailyjobcuts com

  • Sam

    First, most if not all of these people are illegals. Second most if not all don’t speak english as a first language and finally why do they have cell phones? My cell phone cost $100 per month and i pay the bill. I would also bet that most if not all have unlimited text and surfing along with a big flat screen tv at home connected to a cable box with all the channels. Send them home.

    • Kevin Pearson

      You are quite ignorant.

      This is little Havana, Not of those that live in LIttle havana are Cuban but many are. Cubans are NOT illegal. Cubans are all given green cards.

      Most cell phones come with a 2 year contract. If they lose their job, they just cannot just turn off their cell phones without a penalty. There is a 175 dollar penalty, enough for pat for 3 or 4 months to disconnect the phone.

      or they have MetroPcs, which has no contract, and unlimited calls for about 50 bucks a month. That’s more than sufficient for them in Miami. Many people in Miami, are used to using cell phones and so they have no phone at home, so they to have their cell phone to be able to be contacted while they are looking for work.

  • BlownfuelCoupe

    Hey, offer them Free TOFU Turkey, take it of leave it.

  • BlownfuelCoupe

    This just breaking….Michele Obama is considering a law suit claiming these free give-a-ways are potentially dangerous, and simply just taste too good for the Common Man.

    For once I hope she wins…

  • Mack

    I’m gonna go wait in line for mine….only it’s not free for me. Since I’m a tax payer I’m paying for it

    • JByrd42

      But at least you deserve it. The libs realized long ago that they could continue to get re-elected by allowing more and more illegals into our once great country. Don’t get me wrong. The Republicans wanted the cheap labor but the libs are mainly to blame. They love giving handouts.

      • Kevin Pearson

        This is Little Havana, These are mostly Cubans. Cubans are NOT “illegal”. They are ALL given “green cards” in other words, PERMANENT RESIDENCY

      • Juan

        kassa Posted on I would very much like to do my masters in early loocdhihd Education because I love to kkow more about how childresn learn, and I want contribute by preparing the right materials .

    • Kevin Pearson

      Paying for it? What does that have to do with being a taxpayer. Did you not read the story? These are private donations, not tax payer funded.

  • Bob McKay

    aghh the obama holidays,,isnt it wonderful,,you beg for food, he plays golf,,its a nice gig!!!

  • smokehouse56

    ““It was tough for everybody. Tough for everybody,””……..Do you think it will be tough on Obama, Reid and Pelosi. But than the damn fools keep voting for liberals so they can wait in line for hours for a turkey. After alkl, it free. You know, free and paid for by someone else.

    • Kevin Pearson

      Apparently you didn’t read the article. Turkey is not on the menu of a Buena Noche, but pork it.

      These are private donations, not taxpayer funded.

  • Slack

    Lots of fat people talking on cell phones waiting for their free food…..
    Nothing to see here, please move along……

  • Rollo

    Another tale of woe for the Obamatons. Obama and the DNC just love having their “subjects” depend on the government and charities. It gives them more control of a large section of voters that way. God help us if we have to put up with him for another four years. I don’t know if this country can stand it.

  • Cpl Chaos

    As a tax payer – you know, one of the 47% – I don’t mind lending a hand to somebody who has hit hard times. What disgusts me is the government taking my money from me and giving it to anybody who wants it – regardless of need, deservedness, or citizenship. I love the idea of requiring a Social Security card – and not a green card. Don’t have one? Then go home and have THEM feed you.
    First time on this site, very impressed with the amount of intelligent conservatives. Rock on!

    • Kevin Pearson

      What does that have to do with this story? These are vouchers provided by Latin BUSINESSES for Latin foods many of which are provided by the Latin Buinesses. These are not taxpayer funded, so what does you comment have to do with this story?

    • Kevin Pearson

      A “green card” is a photo ID. A Social Security Card is not.

      Every employee since 1986 must prove eligibility of employment by filling out an I-9 form. On that form, a green card in and of itself is sufficient to prove eligibility of employment. A Social security card is not. A Social Security Card requires a photo ID. A green card is a photo ID, but with a green card, a Social Secutiry card is not necessary to prove eligibility of employment.

  • lori

    GO HOME!

  • Golfendude

    The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.

    The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

    The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.

    Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way you can understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out. We have a lot of work to do.

    • tom fendley


    • Kevin Pearson

      I am a rock solid conservative, and I spent the last two years in the Czech Republic, but what does Obama have to do with this story? This story is about Latin businesses, providing vouchers for mainly Latin people, for a bag of Latin groceries. These are private donations.

  • Becky

    “Usually my mom comes and we give it other people who really need it. But now we’re the ones who need it the most. ” SERIOUSLY? Mom stood in line for hours to give to someone else needy? Whatever. Obviously not the first time for this family…and she is standing in line with friends and family, are they each getting a handout?
    I’ve worked 2 jobs for almost 2 years supporting my small family. No handouts for us…wouldn’t want them.

    • John Fox

      When my wife was divorced and living on her own with two young kids and had a husband who didn’t pay child support, a ‘friendly’ neighbor signed her up at the local food bank. She never went because she wouldn’t take charity.

      Found out later that her ‘friendly neighbor’ was going for her and keeping the food.

      She took her name off the list…..

      Charities are better than the government, but if you are giving out free stuff, people will come and get it, some because they need it and others simply because they can.

  • Jen

    Come to Mississippi and the government will give you a free house with granite countertops. See advertisement that says bad credit is OK!

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