MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The early bird gets the worm, at least that is what hundreds of Miami residents were hoping Tuesday morning as they woke up early and stood in line to receive a grocery store gift card.
The giveaway at Juan Pablo Duarte Park started around 8 a.m. but people were line before the sun came up.
The $250 gift cards are first come, first served.
“I’m very thankful because right now no one really knows for this to happen at an unexpected time. I’m really thankful,” said resident Dorian Ramirez.
Ramirez was in this line for hours, waiting for his chance to get help for his family. He lives with his younger brother and his mom and times have gotten very tough.
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“I was actually working and I started getting paid less and out of nowhere. I got laid off from my job. And ever since I’ve been looking for another job, almost 2 months,” added Ramirez.
Dorian has had to sell many of his possessions to put food on the table and pay the bills.
“It’s obviously extremely tragic to see the lines that we’re seeing of people who have a tremendous amount of need in our community,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
Suarez points out this is the 3rd gift card give away. The county recently gave the city another $2 million, bringing it to $5.5 million for the program.
“We’ve asked Miami-Dade County and I’m going to continue to ask Miami-Dade County to please, give us more resources in the cities. Look at the funds that have been unspent. And reallocate them to the city of Miami,” said Suarez.
“The commission’s been fighting and fighting to get more money from the county. What happened was they gave us lemons, this commission, and this mayor made lemonade out of those lemons,” said Miami Commissioner Alex de la Portilla.
De la Portilla said these gift card giveaways are not done yet. There are two more planned.
“We’re going to do them all by the 31st of this year so the people can at least have a little bit of happiness toward the end of the year. It’s been a very difficult year for everyone,” said De la Portilla.
In order to receive a gift card, you must live in the City of Miami and say you’ve been financially impacted by the pandemic.