By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The coronavirus pandemic has led to an unusually high demand for food. With so many people out of work, lines around food distribution sites are always long including free Thanksgiving turkey giveaways at half a dozen sites on Monday.

Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning held his 20th Thanksgiving Gobbler Giveaway at Gibson Park in Miami. Many lined for hours before the turkeys and other food supplies were given away.

Jorge Salazar and Patricia Lampley said a Thanksgiving week food distribution at a Hialeah fire station was more important this year than ever.

“It’s very important. Me and my family have nothing,” said Lampley.

“I lost my job and my wife is working part-time,” said Salazar. “We have to give thanks for what we have.”

“It’s tough. Many people are sick and have lost family members and we still have to take care of each other,” said Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez.

The long lines here have been seen nationwide.

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Miami City Commissioner Alex de la Portilla handed out 400 12-pound turkeys at Antonio Maceo Park. He said demand for the turkeys has tripled this year.

“People are here like never before. It is not anyone’s fault. It is the pandemic so I think everyone has to step up to the plate and help because of the consequences right now,” said de la Portilla. “It is shocking to see that we have 3 times the demand as last year. For example, we are giving out 3,000 turkeys in this one district. I can’t imagine what the demand is.”

“Everything here I appreciate you know. We definitely appreciate everything about where this food comes from,” said Janet Cavalso.

12-pound turkey at turkey giveaway in Miami on Nov. 23, 2020. (CBS4)

One 12-pound turkey goes a long way to help them celebrate the holiday.

“I think every leader must do everything they can to help people with the economic crisis they are facing right now,” de la Portilla added.

He added that even though there is good news with the vaccine on the horizon, “we have to get through a lot of obstacles.”

Miami commissioner Alex de la Portilla at turkey giveaway in Miami on Nov. 23, 2020. (CBS4)

Manny Castaneda says he’s never had to do this before, but he lost his job as a result of the pandemic.

“It helps everyone, believe me, because of unemployment this helps. I never expected something like this to happen to me. It hit me pretty hard and now I am extremely grateful,” said Castaneda.

So is Teresa Santos.

“It is harder than ever but we will get over it. Next year we will have the vaccine and so we just have to be patient,” said Santos.

Long line of vehicles wait at Turkey giveaway in Miami on Nov. 23, 2020. (CBS4)

Some people lined up for hours before this particular turkey giveaway started.

The city will also be delivering 300 turkeys to the homes of residents who have trouble getting out.

Peter D'Oench