HIALEAH (CBSMiami) — On Thursday, hundreds of drivers waited in line at Goodlet Park to pick up the most basic of items like food and milk.

Thursday’s drive-thru food distribution in Hialeah is not the first nor the last in South Florida as families search for help amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We have opened many of our businesses, but that doesn’t stop what we have to do to help our neighbors,” said Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez. “These are people who have been unemployed for many, many, many weeks.”

The need in Hialeah is also seen around the country. Even as the economy re-opens, 1.5 million Americans filed new unemployment claims, according to the Department of Labor. 

“You have areas like Miami-Dade County, and specifically Hialeah, that continue to have great need,” said Alex Penelas, the former mayor of Miami-Dade County.

Hialeah’s need for help was on full display in April as hundreds of people waited in long lines and risked exposure to COVID-19 to pick up unemployment benefit forms.

“This is not something that’s going to go away, but as you can see the need is still very large,” Mayor Hernandez said at Thursday’s food drive.

Thursday’s new numbers of Americans filing for unemployment are on the decline from previous weeks and are significantly lower than their peak of nearly 7 million at the start of the pandemic.

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