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Hundreds Line Up For Holiday Food Vouchers In Little Havana

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Hundreds of people camped out overnight in a Little Havana neighborhood to ensure their spot in line to receive a voucher for a free holiday meal. (Source: CBS4)

Hundreds of people camped out overnight in a Little Havana neighborhood to ensure their spot in line to receive a voucher for a free holiday meal. (Source: CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of people camped out overnight in a Little Havana neighborhood to ensure their spot in line to receive a voucher for a free holiday meal.

Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., the Latin American Chamber of Commerce began handing out the vouchers for food baskets in front of the CAMACOL building at 1401 W Flagler Street. The first 3,000 in line will get a ticket. The food baskets, which are valued up to $150 each, will be given out on Dec. 18th.

CBS4’s Marybel Rodriguez said just before 8 a.m., there were an estimated 1,500 people waiting in a line which stretched across several blocks.

Juanita Alvarez said she’s been waiting in line since Saturday, Nov. 30th.

“I’m tired but having a lot of fun,” Alvarez told Rodriguez. “My partners and I are having a good time. It may sound like we’ve been here for a full five days but no, we share, we go home, we do what we have to do and then we come back.”

The baskets are worth the wait according to Eulalia Gimenez. Without the charity she said her Christmas and many others would be bleak.

“There is no money. There is no jobs. They need it,“ she said.

The baskets contain items for a full Christmas dinner, Latin-style. The food is donated by local companies.

The baskets usually include sausage, rice, biscuits, desert items, canned peaches, salt, juices and milk.

Alvarez said the basket is a real blessing for her.

“On November 1st, they decreased the food stamps so the Latin Chamber of Commerce, CAMOCOL, are going to give us the tickets today and we’ll come back and get the food basket. I really, really need it. It will make a difference on my table.”

This is the 28th year for the program. It has grown into one of the largest holiday food drives in South Florida.

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