MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of people lined in the cold up early Tuesday morning at the Little Haiti Soccer Park for free Publix gift cards each worth $250.
But like what has happened in previous distributions, there were more people than there were cards. Many families were sent home without the help they so desperately need.
Enrique Cuchet got in line around 5:30 a.m. hoping to be one of the lucky ones.
“It means food on the table. You know it’s rough, it’s hard,” he said.
Cuchet said he lost his job working in food delivery because of the pandemic. He said the gift card would help him feed his daughter and grandchildren.
He added that he never thought he would be one of those lining up for assistance.
“No, not at all. I would never come here if I had a job. No, I would never,” he said.
By 8 a.m. the line spanned several blocks. The 500 cards quickly ran out.
Talia Smith went home empty-handed.
“I don’t have nothing. I don’t have a job, I don’t have nothing. I have five kids. My friend came too, she’s pregnant. And it’s not fair to say 500 is the limit. I don’t think 500 should be the limit,” she said.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see that so many people in our community are in need. Someone who comes during the middle of the night and spends hours in the cold weather. It’s not because they don’t have anything better to do. It’s because they really need it. And we are trying to do our best,” said Soledad Cedro, a spokeswoman for Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s office.
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The demand and need for food amid the coronavirus pandemic has stretched across South Florida.
Last week in Coconut Grove, again there were more people than there were Publix gift cards. Many people were turned away after waiting hours when supplies ran out at Regatta Park.
The city told about 200 of those people to go to the Little Haiti event. So, it turns out, about 700 gift cards were handed out on Tuesday.
In an October release, ‘Feeding America’ said the number of food insecure Americans in 2020 could rise to 50 million people.
Funding for the Publix gift cards handed out by the City of Miami comes from the CARES Act. Click Here to find out about future card distributions.
Those hoping to receive a card must live in the city of Miami and have to fill out a form verifying they have been impacted by the pandemic.
The city said those wanting a card should have their application printed and signed before they arrive to reduce their wait time.
Click Here for the application.
The distribution is on a first-come, first-serve basis and while supplies last.